The best apps to identify objects

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Sometimes we need to order a new product of something 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 or Google Lens. Sometimes, the objects are in front of us, and sometimes, we have to identify an object from a photo.

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

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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. Oftentimes, 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 are basically three 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 to 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.

Read next: Why keywords are important (website strategy)

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

Google App

In the Google App, you can also upload images, and it gives you matches. It’s just like doing a text-based search – except you are using the image.

upload an image to google to search

The results…

search results after uploading an image to google search

iOS apps to do an image search

This iOS app can also help do an image search.

So, these are the apps that you can use to identify objects in front of you. 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 just to search for bathroom lightbulbs 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 helpful here.

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