The best apps to identify objects

Estimated read time: 2 minutes



Sometimes we need to order a new product of some thing in the house or want to know what a specific object is. That’s when we can use apps to identify objects. Examples of these apps include Amazon Lens and Google Lens.

This happened to me recently when two bathroom light bulbs went out and I didn’t know which specific ones to re-order. So these apps to identify objects came in handy here. That’s what I discuss in this article.

How do apps to identify objects work?

In the simplest terms, these apps scan the object in front of you and then determine what it is. Often times, they give you the option to buy the product or a similar product.

Some of the apps available in the App Store specifically focus on identifying plants and fake products.

The use is simple and usually follows this format:

  • Install the app and open it
  • Find the functionality that allows you to point and scan an object
  • Click to scan and wait for the scan to complete
  • The app gives you the search results based on what it just scanned

Uploading an image from your camera roll is also often an option to scan an image.



There’s basically two apps I’ve used for this purpose. Let’s take a look at them.

The Amazon app (Amazon Lens)

I used the Amazon app to scan and identify my bathroom lightbulbs so I could order new ones.

This currently works on the iPhone but does not work on the iPad. In the app, click on the scan icon.

From there you can point your phone at the item and allow the app to scan it.

Scanning an objectThis is officially called the Amazon Lens and once it scans the object it gives you related search results on Amazon. Given that many products or versions of them are on Amazon this is indeed a feasible way to scan and identify objects.

Results of scanned objectsEven if the product is not available on Amazon it does give you a great idea about brands and other related products.

The Google app (Google Lens)

The Google app offers a similar service through Google Lens – which is a key part of visual search.

The process is very similar to Amazon. Simply open the Google app on your phone or iPad. This one does work on the iPad. Then click the lens icon and point your device at the object to scan.

Scanning an object with Google lens


So these are the apps that I use most commonly when I have to identify objects in front of me. That can be the case when they don’t have a tag or barcodes or there could be several options of what they are.

For example, it’s hard to  just search for bathroom lightbulb to find the exact same shape and type of lightbulbs that are in my actual bathroom.

Using an app that scans objects and returns accurate search results is super helpful here.



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