Here's How To Use Google To Identify Plants For Free, Inside Or Outside

Plant enthusiasts rejoice because with the help of Google Lens, gone are the days of wondering, "What plant is that?" when strolling past your neighbor's garden or looking at your friend's latest pothos. Google Lens is a tool that can identify what you see, including animals, plants, and furniture, using the camera on your phone. You can also use it to translate words from images, add events to your calendar, and copy and paste texts. 

Google Lens works in a few ways, both indoors and outdoors. If you want to use Google Lens to identify a plant in your yard or the one staging your coffee table, start by taking a picture of the plant with your camera. The image recognition tool is already built into Android phones, while iPhone users may need to download the Google app or something like Google Photos before they can access Google Lens. Fortunately, all of these are free, as is the use of Google Lens.

Identifying your plant with Google Lens

Now it's time for the fun part — identifying a plant with Google Lens. To use Google Lens from the Google app, open the app and find Google Lens as a camera icon in the search bar. Tap the icon, point your camera at your plant of choice, and capture an image. After snapping the photo, Google provides results on that plant based on its relevance to other similar images on the web. 

However, if you want to identify a plant from a photo in your camera roll, this is where having downloaded pictures will come in handy. Open Google Photos and give it permission to access your images. Select the photo of the plant you want to identify and then click the camera icon labeled "Lens." Search results will pop up at the bottom of your screen. It's reassuring to know that Google Lens filters out explicit results so it remains a safe tool for its users.

How does Google Lens compare to other plant identifier apps?

Unsurprisingly, Google Lens isn't the only top plant-identifying app on the market, and it may have some contenders. Data shows that there are more than 4 million apps available today, and the plant identification app market is projected to generate multimillions by 2029. Two popular plant identifier apps that iPhone and Android users can enjoy include Picture This and PlantNet. As far as cost goes, PictureThis is free to download but offers premium subscriptions. Meanwhile, PlantNet is completely free.

When deciding which app to choose, it's important to reflect on your reason for downloading an app because each one offers different services. If you want a basic tool that is simple to use and tells you what a particular plant is, Google Lens and PlantNet will get the job done. On the other hand, PictureThis identifies plants and is a great choice for keeping your plants alive. Its premium tier gives you the option to speak with plant experts, diagnose sick plants, and receive plant care tips. Whichever one you choose, enjoy becoming a plant expert with a simple push of your camera's shutter button!