Google multisearch lets images and text help find things you can't name

The feature is handy for those looking for style or home decor tips

Google's multisearch function is currently available only in the US as a beta feature. Photo: Google
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If you’ve ever tried to describe something but couldn’t find the right words to explain what you’re looking for, Google’s new multisearch feature may be what you need.

The new function allows people to search by combining text and images to deliver a more specific result. This comes in handy for those who may have style or home decor questions or want to identify something but do not know the name for it.

“We’re always dreaming up new ways to help you uncover the information you’re looking for — no matter how tricky it might be to express what you need," Google said in a blog post on Thursday.

"That’s why today, we’re introducing an entirely new way to search: using text and images at the same time. With multisearch in Lens, you can go beyond the search box and ask questions about what you see."

Here’s how it works

Open the Google app on your smartphone and tap the Lens camera icon and either search from a screenshot or take a photo of something around you that you’re interested in looking up (for example, a stylish dress pattern). Then swipe up and type the “+ add to your search” button to add text to get a more refined result.

Multisearch then allows you to ask a question about an object or clarify the search by colour, brand or a visual attribute. For example, you can search from a screenshot of a dress pattern and add “socks” to find something similar or identical to the outfit, but for socks.

There are other helpful uses, such as if a part on a bicycle has broken and you need tips on how to repair it. If you do not know what the part is called, you can use Google Lens to take a photo of the broken part and type “how to fix” with search results coming up for that specific part.

Right now this function is only available as a beta feature in English in the US, with Google saying that the best results are for shopping searches.

Updated: April 08, 2022, 12:40 PM