Google is launching a pair of interrelated features that are designed to make it easier to pick what to eat at restaurants. The first was originally announced by the company back at Google I/O, and it allows you to point your phone’s camera at a restaurant’s menu to see user reviews and photographs of the dishes. The feature is available through Google Lens, a piece of software that’s available as an app and is also built into the camera on Google Pixel devices. Google has confirmed that the feature is launching by the end of this week with support for menus in English, and it will expand to more languages in the future.
In order to provide user reviews through Google Lens, you’ll need reviews of individual meals to start. Google is also launching a new “Popular Dishes” sub-menu within a restaurant’s page in the Google Maps app. You can add a review after taking a photo of a particular dish, which will also be automatically translated if you’re in a foreign country. 9to5Google was the first to spot the feature being tested at the beginning of May.
Yelp added a Popular Dishes feature last year
Google isn’t the only company to have tried to include reviews of individual restaurant dishes. Last year, VentureBeat reported that Yelp added an identically named Popular Dishes feature to its reviews. However, Google and Yelp’s implementations work a little differently. Although both of them use machine learning to comb through existing reviews and match them with dishes, Google will also let you add information and photographs about specific dishes, rather than just having you review the restaurant in total.
The Google Lens functionality will be available by the end of this week for iOS devices and Android devices with support for ARCore. Meanwhile, the Popular Dishes feature has launched today on Google Maps for Android, and it will be coming to iOS in the coming months.