This week, Google announced the long-awaited second generation Pixel smartphones—the Google Pixel 2 and the Google Pixel 2 XL. As with any new smartphone, there are often new features that are exclusive to that device (at least for the time being). One such feature is Google Lens which is said to launch in a preview state on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Google Lens is a set of vision based computing capabilities that analyzes what you are looking at—think of it as the successor to Google Goggles.
Initially announced at Google I/O 2017, the feature was promised to eventually be integrated with two other Google products: Google Assistant and Google Photos. Despite launching in an exclusive preview state on the new Pixel phones, it has been discovered that Google Lens integration in Google Assistant can be enabled right now on any rooted Android device.
It wasn’t long ago that we discovered that Google Lens integration was fully functional in Google Photos, although Google quickly patched the method we were using when we shared an easy way to access Google Lens.
But a new method has been discovered by XDA Senior Member ani_me_sh which allows for rooted devices to enable Google Lens in Google Assistant. The method is similar to a previous trick used last year to enable Google Assistant on non-Google devices. We’ll walk you through in a step-by-step tutorial how to enable Google Lens integration with Google Assistant.
Tutorial – How to Enable Google Lens in Google Assistant
Before we begin, you’ll need to have a rooted device using either SuperSU or Magisk. Then, you will need either a rooted file explorer such as MiXplorer from our forums. Alternatively, you can download BuildProp Editor from the Play Store.
Then, follow these steps to enable Google Lens:
- Install the latest Google App (version 7.13.21 beta)
- Open up BuildProp Editor and tap on the pencil icon in the top right. This will let you edit the build.prop file in /system.
- Find (or add if it’s not there)
ro.product.manufacturerand change whatever is there to equal ‘Google‘
- Find (or add if it’s not there)
ro.product.modeland change it to ‘Pixel 2 XL‘
- Finally, add the following line anywhere:
- Tap the save button to save all of your changes
- Reboot your phone
- Open up Google Assistant by pressing the home button, and you should now see the Google Lens button in the bottom right (as shown in the earlier screenshots!)
Basically, you are tricking the Google App into thinking your device is actually a Google Pixel 2 XL. It appears that the Google App reads these system property values to determine what device it is running on, and enables Google Lens if it returns the Pixel 2 XL.
We don’t expect this workaround to work forever considering how quickly Google shut down the prior method, so if you want to try out Lens right now we recommend you play around with it as soon as you can! I tested it briefly on my OnePlus 5 running the latest OxygenOS, and can confirm it does work.
What can Google Lens do?
As a reminder, here’s what Lens should be able to do according to an APK teardown of Google Photos that we did earlier.
We presume that Google will add more features as time passes considering the fact that Google Lens is an avenue for Google to show off their machine learning technology. We just hope that they don’t make this feature a Pixel 2 exclusive for too much longer. For now, this unofficial workaround is the best chance you’ll get at trying out Google Lens!