We tested the Google Pixel 3 out to see if Google Lens actually works
Superior network coverage means unfettered search even in underground parts of Singapore.
Wednesday afternoons are when people are busy at work but wishing they were somewhere else.
I, on the other hand, was indeed somewhere else when I found myself at Tanjong Pagar MRT station with the latest Google Pixel 3 Not Pink.
But I was actually at work.
Because the brief was to indulge in people-watching — or sneaker-watching — and things that don’t typically qualify as work.
The test? How using Google Lens and a speedy internet connection will make the endeavour more efficient.
The challenge? To find out if the Singtel network will allow Google Lens to do searches even in underground areas.
Or, if it all works, to what extent can they be pushed to.
Sneaker-watching is, of course, just an excuse to indulge in entertaining the thought of sneaker-buying.
But the results thrown up were not exactly what was being scanned by the Google Lens.
For instance, the white Adidas shoes look like a pair of NMDs, which wasn’t shown in the results.
Nevertheless, they were close enough to further my search if I wanted to.
On a side note, black Nike sneakers sure are popular around here.
The challenge: Identify names of products
The greatest advancement with the Google Lens is the ability to simply snap a picture of a nice pair of kicks I see on someone else, and know what brand it is and what other similar models are there — and where I can purchase them as well.
It works for other accessories too.
Identifying sneakers and other wearables today is bound to give way to identifying a plethora of other items in time to come, to creating a live marketplace of models and product placements.
The challenge: Can Google Lens identify local places?
The Google Pixel 3 is also handy for exploring places you are not familiar with.
I am familiar with Tanjong Pagar, which makes it easier to double check what Google Lens throws up is accurate.
For example, at Tanjong Pagar Plaza, there are all kinds of eateries — both the atas and less-atas ones.
But a halal nasi padang stall, for some reason, showed up as a “country food” restaurant after I snapped a picture of it using Google Lens.
Nonetheless, this is simply a standard Google search result and not Google Lens itself, which did its job positively identifying the place.
Oddities aside, the area is home to a myriad of F&B choices, such as a bar and a ramen place that are essentially located at the void deck of an HDB block of flats.
Finding out more about these places did not take much effort. For people who do not even know the Japanese language, trying to even search something the traditional way can be near impossible.
With barely a few clicks using Google Lens, I was able to find out useful information right away, such as their closing times.
Google Lens is able to read non-English words too, like the name of the Japanese ramen place: 博多一幸舎, which is Hakata Ikkousha in English.
And this snack as well: チーズ鱈. Google Lens tells me it is “cheese cod” in English, and a further search lets me know that it is a snack that is supposed to have cod fillings in the cheese strips.
A nifty feature for those going overseas and who might need some help in translating non-English words to English.
It’s always a good feeling to know that you won’t be lost in a new environment with foreign words and signs everywhere.
Old meets new
I tried using Google Lens in the area around the MRT station too.
The old meets new vibe is almost ubiquitous in Singapore these days. So, was it able to tell apart places that looked like other places?
Google Lens was able to tell me something about this historic district, such as the purpose this shophouse now serves.
When I ventured into the public housing estates within Tanjong Pagar Plaza, it was able to tell me the specific names of various stuff I encountered too.
Such as the fish I saw lying around at the wet market, waiting for customers to buy them before they became stale.
And the flowers we see around our neighbourhood but never bothered to find out their names.
Interesting. Children could use Google Lens to figure out the world around them and get family-friendly search results.
A consumer-friendly camera
But there’s something about the heartlands here at Tanjong Pagar that makes it slightly different from the heartlands in other parts of Singapore.
The Google Pixel 3 sees what long-time Tanjong Pagar HDB flat residents see: Beyond the potted plants along the corridor and the concrete blocks of public housing, the neatly arranged private properties and shiny engines of economic growth.
And lastly, I can’t help but to do this again.
This post is brought to you by Singtel, which allows us to do searches on Google Pixel’s Google Lens easily with its superior network coverage, even in underground parts of Singapore.
Singtel is also the only telco in Singapore where you can get your hands on the latest Google Pixel 3 Not Pink.
Get the Pixel 3 Not Pink at S$0 with 18 GB of data with Singtel’s Combo XO plan, or get up to S$450 off the Pixel 3 on the other plans.