YouTube and Google Lens team up to offer a new way to search — how it works

YouTube open on an Android phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

For the most part, if you want to find a video on YouTube, you either go to the app or website and use the built-in search bar, or you attempt a search via Google

A new experiment from Google Lens and YouTube is giving some Android users a unique way to search. As spotted by Android Police, the new feature allows users to point their camera at something, say a black cat and search for videos about black cats. 

It's unclear how many people will get access to this new feature. I tried on a couple of Android phones I had laying around my house but none of them had access.

If you do have access, you will see a Google Lens button in the search bar of the YouTube app. Tapping the button opens up your phone's camera and then you can search by pointing the camera at a subject. The results show up as a YouTube search. According to Google, you can also click "Search on Google" for more standard Google results.

It'll be interesting to se how this actually translates in terms of search. How accurate will the search be? And within it that, how long before YouTube recommends cryptoTube and Tim Pool.

Again, Google says in the company's blog post that this feature is only going out to a "small percentage" of users. Let us know if you're in the experiment.

Recently, Google has also been experimenting with AI in YouTube. Mostly, these additions seem to be more geared toward YouTube creators than viewers. Some AI elements include AI generated effects that can be used in the YouTube's Shorts videos, comments summarized by AI, and AI-generated green screen images for backgrounds. Again, most of these features are for creators and specifically aimed at YouTube's TikTok/Reels-knockoff Shorts.

Not all of YouTube's recent experiments have been successful. The recently announced Playables, just added a bunch of mobile ads games to the service with seemingly no real purpose.

That said, anything that makes searching and finding interesting videos easier or more available across different media, does sound interesting and it would be cool to find an answer to question by scanning an object with your phone and getting a YouTube video with information in response.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.