Show Don’t Tell: Your Camera Could be the Next Keyboard

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Snapchat’s success with Story has been followed by multiple social media behemoths including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to follow suit and introduce their own versions of it. This bandwagon effect of people preferring visual status updates almost certainly spells the beginning of the end for the traditional keyboard.

Now Google is taking it a step further:

Introducing Google Lens, which aims to turn your camera into a search box using Artificial Intelligence.

Some of the things it should be able to do are:

1.) Identify a species of flower based on the view through a phone’s camera,

2.) Read and autofill complicated Wi-Fi passwords,

3.) identify venues such as restaurants and shops when you wave your camera at the physical storefront and pull up menus, hours of operation, etc.

Amazingly, Google stays consistent in what it does when while changing the way it does it: with Lens, it will still be a tool to retrieve information from the web, now using augmented reality instead of a search box. But Google isn’t the only one doing this. Amazon’s Fire Phone supported image-based search in 2014 to have things shipped to you from Amazon. Pinterest also launched its beta tool for taking a picture of an object and having related images show up on Pinterest. This could be used to take a picture of a meal and instantly receive recipes for it, for instance.

In a related vein, HP’s Sprout PC gets rid of the keyboard altogether and replaces it with a projected touchpad and a 3D camera/scanner built in to deliver a blended reality experience.

While these technologies still have a ways to go before we get to the point where we can comfortably say goodbye to keyboards, it seems that we are steadily moving in that direction. This is the next big revolution in the way we interact with technology, akin to the extinction of landlines. And as strange as a keyboard-less existence is bound to feel at first, it will then pave the way for something even better, faster, and more efficient in its place.

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