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Google Lens working on a step-by-step math problem solver

The last major redesign of Google Lens introduced Dining and Translate filters, while Text (OCR), Shopping, and Auto became explicit modes. The visual search tool could soon pick up the ability to solve math problems.

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

The latest Google app beta (11.7) this evening features two new “lens_math_equation” strings:

<string name=”lens_math_equation_step_section_title”>STEPS TO SOLVE</string>

<string name=”lens_math_equation_solution_section_title”>SOLUTION</string>

At the moment, pointing Lens at a math problem will surface “similar images” and let you copy text that appears. Google does not currently understand that you’re viewing a solvable equation. This is despite the Dining mode having a built-in tip calculator and check splitter when you snap a receipt.

The two strings suggest some kind of math mode for Google Lens that will offer the “solution” and “steps to solve.” That latter capability suggests a more education-oriented capability that might help students.

Google last year acquired and relaunched an Android and iOS application called Socratic. The AI studying tool for high school and college students can be used take pictures of math problems and find step-by-step solutions on the web. It’s not a stretch for Google to integrate a similar capability into Lens and make it an appealing tool for a new audience.

It’s unclear whether the math capabilities in Google Lens will become a new filter, or whether it will just be part of the Auto mode.

Meanwhile, Lens in 11.7 continues work on letting users download offline language packs so that the Translate feature will work without an internet connection, just like the full Google Translate application.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: