8 Apps To Identify Anything Using Your Phone’s Camera

By | December 6, 2021

For many, your phone’s camera is one of its most important aspects. It has many uses, from superimposing wild creatures into reality with AR apps to taking sharp pictures even at night.

But you may be missing another major capability that your phone’s camera has: it can function as a visual search engine and identify what you see in the world. Here are the best identification apps for Android and iPhone.

Google Lens: For Everything

Google has brought the snippets of the search engine to your camera. With computer vision, the Lens app is able to recognize many items. Google Lens understands a variety of items including animal breeds, plants, flowers, branded gadgets, and more. The biggest exception is people.

Plus, for compatible objects, Google Lens will also pull up a shopping info if you want to buy one. Not much of a setup process. You can simply install the app or launch it from Google Assistant and point it at an object. Google Lens will notify you if it finds a match by displaying a small blue icon above the item.

Instead of a dedicated app, iPhone users can find Google Lens functionality in the search bar of the main Google app. We’ve taken a look at some interesting uses for Google Lens in case you’re curious.

Download: Google Lens for Android (Free)
Download: Google for iOS (Free)

Pinterest: For Design and Art

Similarly, Pinterest has a visual search tool where you take a picture and the app fetches links and pages for identified objects. Pinterest solutions can also match multiple items in a complex image, such as clothes.

Like Google, it shows you shopping links with which you can directly purchase products.

Pinterest’s visual search is primarily designed for what the social network is known for, such as design, clothing, and other similar categories. For purposes like exploring nature, you’ll have a better time with Google Lens.

Download: Pinterest for Android | iOS (Free)

Snapchat: Amazon Supported Visual Search

Snapchat comes with a great visual search engine too. Powered by and integrated with Amazon’s vast product database. The concept is identical to the one above.

You take a picture of the object you are interested in. If identified successfully, Snapchat will bring up an Amazon card so you can visit the list. You can also scan the barcode instead of tapping the item, for a faster response.

Download: Snapchat for Android | iOS (Free)

Amazon: For Shopping

If you are not a Snapchat user, you can open the official Amazon app. You can search by simply taking a picture of a product or a barcode.

This option is located on the right edge of the search bar, as the camera icon. Tap it to enter the viewfinder and take your picture. If there is a match, Amazon will list the available ones.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, there is no way to import images that you already have in your phone’s library.

Download: Amazon for Android | iOS (Free)

Coinoscope: Coin Identifier

You will also find many visual search applications for specific categories. One of them is Coinoscope, which can recognize modern and ancient coins.

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Coinoscope works by analyzing the images you take and showing related results from their archives. Aside from its name, Coinoscope draws on the year the coin was put into circulation, its origin, value, and more if available.

It also features a built-in zoom slider, so you can easily crop your images to the edge of the coin.

Download: Coinoscope for Android | iOS (Free, premium version available)

PlantNet: Flora Identifier

Another niche visual search tool is PlantNet. As the name suggests, it can identify all types of plants. PlantNet is compatible with a number of plants including plants, flowers, grass types, cacti, and more.

After you insert an image, PlantNet creates several similar lists. You can confirm and choose the one that seems closest to what you are looking for.

Regardless of the manufacturer’s name, PlantNet lets you learn the details and scientific facts about what you’re scanning. If you like it, browse through its library and read about the 20,000+ inhabited species.

Download: PlantNet for Android | iOS (Free)

Vivino: Wine Identifier

Next on our list is Vivino, an app that helps you buy better quality wine. All you need to do is take a picture of the wine label you are interested in.

Vivino will then process it and provide you with some information to help you decide if you should buy it. It shows details like how popular it was, description of the flavor, ingredients, how old it was, and more. Plus, you’ll find user reviews and ratings from Vivino’s 30 million large community.

Better yet, in some areas, Vivino gives you deals and helps find the shop where you can get the cheapest wine. At the time of writing, Vivino features approximately 9.2 million wines.

Download: Vivino for Android | iOS (Free)

DietCameraAI: Food Identifier and Calorie Counter

DietCameraAI tries to eliminate the process of manually maintaining calorie intake. This app can process food images and automatically add the number of calories they have in your diary.

In addition, DietCameraAI is equipped with an AI-powered personal assistant that offers feedback about your food and what you can change for a healthier diet.

Based on your history and goals, DietCameraAI also prepares charts and provides insight into your progress. You can, of course, use DietCameraAI only as a calorie counter and skip all the extra features.

Download: DietCameraAI for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

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