Google's Lens visual search will hit Pixel phones this year

It'll be available via the Assistant and the Photos app first.

Google may be unveiling the highly anticipated (and heavily leaked) Pixel 2 phones, Pixelbook and "Max" and mini Home speakers today, but the company also has new software up its sleeves. In particular, it showed off the new Lens feature, which is designed to pull up helpful information for whatever you point your camera at. The preview will roll out to Pixel phones later this year, initially via the Assistant and the Photos app.

Google already teased the Lens tool at its developer conference earlier this year, and today we got a few more demos of what the software can do. You can point the Pixel's camera at an email address on a flyer, and Lens will offer you options like "Send email," "Create contact" and "Copy text." Point the phone at a work of art, a book or an album cover, and you'll get details on each item, such as its dimensions or author.

We've seen other tech companies try to make similar visual search features in the past -- notably in Samsung's Bixby Vision, Amazon's Firefly and Pinterest's Lens. The Moto X4 also offers a tool within its camera app that can identify landmarks you point the phone at. But Google's software, together with its search prowess, means this offering has plenty of potential to be a more comprehensive and useful service that could win over new fans.

Follow all the latest news from Google's Pixel 2 event here!