Now that most of us carry around smartphones with cameras, visual search technology has been improving rapidly. Google lens is an AI driven tool that has received some significant upgrades in the last few years. Using just a photo from your smartphone, you can find a place to buy that chic chair you saw in a hotel lobby or the comfy sofa in the living room of your Air BNB. You can take a picture of a designer gown in a magazine and search for similar options that are actually in your budget. It’s a really powerful search tool that can enable futuristic feeling results, like high-tech goggles in a spy movie. Let’s take a step by step look at shopping online using a picture from our customer, Alvarado Street Brewery.

Bar Height Table at Alvarado Street Brewery
K24 Bar Height Table Base

Step one is to take a picture of the item in question. On an iPhone or iPad, it helps to use the free Google app (just open the app and click the camera icon). On most Android phones, Google lens is built into your stock camera app, just click on the “lens” mode. On all devices, you can also take a picture with your normal camera app and import it into the Google app or Google’s website later (which is great for finding something you photographed previously). 

To get the best results possible, try to get close to the item in question, making sure it’s the only thing in focus in the frame. The technology is pretty forgiving of poor quality photos, but it does help to start with a clear picture with the item in focus. There are a lot of possibilities here, you can photograph furniture, clothing, art work, home goods, flowers, animals,there’s a wide range of things that Google can recognize (which is both very cool and also a little scary). 

Screenshot of Google Lens searching for a bar height restaurant table
Using Google Lens to Identify Items in the Photo

Once you submit your search, the first results you will see will vary depending on the subject of your photo. With common objects like chairs or a water bottle, Google tends to jump straight into shopping results, especially if a brand name is visible in the picture. With other things such as nature or art works, the first results will be more informational rather than transactional. The results can also vary depending on the quality of your photo, how close you are to the subject, and the uniqueness of the subject. You can see in the example below, the first result is a link to purchase the K24 black table base shown in the photograph.

Screenshot of image search results using Google Lens to find restaurant furniture
Search Results Showing Shopping Results at

So the next time you are out at a restaurant and see a beautiful table base you want for your kitchen, or a rug that you think would fit perfectly in your bedroom, take a picture of it and see what results you can get! You might just end up right back here at