In November last Google Lens became available to people via the company’s Photos mobile app or the Assistant on the Android device.

At the time an estimated 250 000 objects could be recognised by the camera-based application, and over the space of a year, Google Lens is now capable of recognising more than one billion objects.

The reason why Google Lens has been able to add so much more to its object library has to do with you, or rather the Android smartphone in your pocket.

“As our phones go everywhere with us, and storage becomes cheaper, we’re taking more photos of more types of things. We’re of course capturing sunsets and selfies, but people say 10 to 15 percent of the pictures being taken are of practical things like receipts and shopping lists,” VP for Google Lens and AR, Aparna Chennapragada, recently explained in a blog post.

“As hardware, software, and AI continue to advance, I believe the camera will go well beyond taking photos—it will help you search what you see, browse the world around you, and get things done. That’s why we started Google Lens last year as a first step in this journey,” she continues.

For now the recognisable objects are ones that are “shoppable” and can be found in Google Shopping. As such some more obscure things are still not capable of being picked up by Google Lens.

Hopefully though, that will change in coming years, as Google looks to shift Lens away from being a retail tool and more of an information resource.

This is already starting to take shape, with the app capable of recognising people, names, 3D shaped objects, business cards and even WiFi networks.

“As computers start to see like we do, the camera will become a powerful and intuitive interface to the world around us,” concludes Chennapragada.