(GLOBAL)Google Lens tras un mes de uso: el futuro de las búsquedas es éste, pero aún queda mucho para llegar a él

Google Lens fue una de las grandes novedades de software anunciadas en la conferencia Google I/O de este año. Se trata de una herramienta de búsqueda visual que es capaz de ‘leer’ los elementos de una imagen para proporcionarnos información adicional. Con Lens podemos conocer más acerca de un monumento, consultar reseñas de un libro, copiar textos, reservar en restaurantes y más, y todo desde una imagen.

La principal pega de Lens (y últimamente de casi todas las novedades que lanza Google) es que es exclusiva de los Pixel, lo que significa que, al menos de momento, sólo un número muy reducido de usuarios de Android tiene acceso a ella. Como decíamos, Lens se llevó gran parte del protagonismo en su presentación, pero ¿es tan sorprendente y práctica como parece? En Xataka Android llevamos varias semanas conviviendo con esta herramienta y ha llegado la hora de contar nuestras impresiones sobre Google Lens.

Pasito a pasito: así se accede a Lens

Esta es la pregunta que nos hicimos al intentar acceder a este nuevo sistema y el primer escollo con el que nos encontramos. En la interfaz de la cámara no hay ningún botón o modo que nos permita entrar en Lens y eso es porque, de momento, el funcionamiento en tiempo real no está disponible.

Actualmente, para usar Lens tenemos que abrir la cámara, hacer una foto, abrir la galería de Google Fotos y presionar en el botón de Lens, sólo entonces podremos ver información de la foto en cuestión. Efectivamente, el sistema resulta bastante poco intuitivo en el día a día, pero hay buenas noticias.

Google ya ha comenzado el despliegue de Lens en el asistente de voz que sí nos dejará ver información simplemente apuntando con la cámara (primero hay que abrir Assistant, eso sí), pero esta novedad todavía no ha llegado a los Pixel españoles, aunque esperamos que lo haga en las próximas semanas.

Con todo, esta es una clara prueba de que Lens, como Assistant en su día, es una opción que todavía está en una fase muy prematura. Google no lo llama versión beta, sino preview, pero a fin de cuentas es lo mismo: una versión de pruebas. Lens todavía tiene camino por recorrer, ahora veremos más razones.

Identificando imágenes con Google Lens

Vamos al lío, que es ver el funcionamiento de Lens en el día a día. Obviamente, Lens no es capaz de reconocer cualquier tipo de foto, sino que su objetivo es sernos útil en ciertas situaciones. En este análisis vamos a poner a prueba sus habilidades en varios bloques: monumentos, establecimientos, productos, plantas y animales, comida y textos.

¿Qué monumento es ese?

Lens reconoce sin problema las Torres de Serranos en la primera foto, pero no lo consigue en una imagen tomada desde el lateral. Sí que las reconoce en una imagen desde atrás, lo curioso es que estas eran las Torres de Quart…

En la primera imagen, Lens no es capaz de reconocer el mítico túnel de toriis del templo japonés Fushimi Inari, pero nos ofrece una selección de fotos similares. En la segunda foto sí nos devuelve un resultado, pero es erróneo: no es Kiyomizu-dera, sigue siendo Fushimi Inari.

Tres ejemplos en los que Google Lens hizo muy bien su trabajo. Aquí consiguió detectar el lugar a pesar de que las imágenes no eran las más significativas de sus respectivos enclaves.

Quiero información sobre un establecimiento

Lens también puede reconocer establecimientos. En la primera foto identificó el restaurante y nos mostró la ficha con toda la información. En la segunda, detectó que estábamos en Akihabara pero nos enlaza a Wikipedia y no ofrece información de ningún establecimiento concreto. En el tercer caso no detectó nada y sólo nos mostró fotos similares.

Seguimos probando. En la primera foto no reconoce el lugar, pero sí ‘lee’ el número de teléfono en el cartel que hay colocado en la fachada. En la segunda foto, el banco Santander pasa a ser el circuito de Hockenheimring por arte de magia. En la tercera foto no ve el enorme logo de Media Markt pero sí partes del texto que hay justo debajo.

Saber más sobre un producto

Lens es muy eficaz cuando se trata de reconocer productos. Aquí tres ejemplos que los que reconoció el contenido y nos enlazó a la búsqueda con información detallada. ¡Incluso en japonés!

Eso sí, hay que apuntar bien. En la primera foto nos dijo que estábamos a punto de comprar cosméticos. Un plano más centrado nos da la solución correcta: cerveza.

A veces Lens reconoce el producto, pero no acierta, como en la primera foto, donde nos dice que estamos mirando un Funko del Joker cuando en realidad es Harley Quinn (casi). En la segunda foto sólo nos proporciona información de la marca y en la última directamente no reconoce nada.

¿De qué especie es este animal o esta planta?

Lens también puede ser una herramienta para aprender, o eso intenta. El reconocimiento de plantas o animales es otra de sus capacidades, aunque no siempre va bien y dependiendo de cómo sea la foto obtendremos resultados más concretos (izquierda y centro) o mucho más genéricos (derecha).

Los animales también pueden ser identificados con Lens, pero de nuevo depende bastante de cómo sea la foto. Aquí vemos tres casos en los que el sistema fue capaz de reconocer el animal de la foto.

Pero el reconocimiento con animales no es del todo fiable. En estas dos fotos etiqueta con razas distintas al mismo gato.

¿Cómo se llama este plato?

Google Lens también es capaz de reconocer platos de comida como esta paella o esta ración de sushi, aunque solamente nos enlaza a la búsqueda por imágenes. Si quieres saber sobre el origen del plato o cómo se hace la receta, tendrás que buscar por tu cuenta.

Sin embargo, el funcionamiento al reconocer comida no es nada fiable. Hay casos como el de la primera foto en el que nos da resultados muy genéricos, pero la realidad es que la mayoría de veces no es capaz de detectar nada y, como mucho, nos ofrece fotos similares.

Reconocimiento de textos

La función estrella de Google Lens y sin duda la más práctica. Con el reconocimiento de textos podemos copiar la contraseña del router sin tener que teclearla, ir a una dirección sólo apuntando a una tarjeta de visita o llamar al teléfono de un cartel que vemos por la calle.

Lens sigue reconociendo bien textos impresos, aunque la tipografía sea un poco más irregular. La cosa cambia con textos escritos a mano, en los que se suele equivocar bastante a menudo.

Conclusiones: no tengáis prisa en tener Lens

Decía al principio que Google está cogiendo costumbre a lanzar novedades de software en cuentagotas, haciendo que primero sean exclusivas de unos pocos smartphones y países. Fue el caso de Assistant en su momento y ahora le toca el turno a Lens. Sin embargo, aunque a nadie nos gusta que nos hagan esperar, tras probar Lens creo que en cierto modo tiene sentido que no quieran lanzarlo para todo el mundo.

Durante los días que llevo probando Lens me ha quedado claro que el sistema tiene mucho camino por recorrer para ser una herramienta verdaderamente útil. Funciones básicas como la identificación de lugares de interés o monumentos no devuelven resultados fiables en muchos casos. Tampoco va muy fino cuando se trata de reconocer establecimientos y al menos yo no he conseguido reservar mesa en un restaurante sólo sacándole una foto como mostró Google en la I/O.

Google Lens todavía tiene mucho camino por recorrer para ser una herramienta verdaderamente útil. En cierto modo tiene sentido que no quieran lanzarlo para todo el mundo.
El reconocimiento de productos sí suele acertar y es bastante práctico. Me ha servido sobre todo para consultar precios en tiendas online mientras iba de compras, pero también para conocer opiniones o simplemente obtener información. Pero sin duda lo mejor es el reconocimiento de textos. Aquí sí me ha salvado más de una vez de tener que copiar una dirección o un nombre, aunque como ha quedado demostrado con las fotos todavía tiene que mejorar la detección en textos escritos a mano.

En definitiva, Lens es una primera propuesta de lo que espero llegue a ser una potente herramienta a la altura del motor de búsqueda de Google, pero por el momento todavía está aprendiendo. Lo dicho, paciencia, que cuando llegue será mejor.

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