All the Cool Things You Can Do With Google’s New Dining Features
Splitting the bill with friends is about to get much simpler.
For all the joys of dining out, there are plenty of stress factors, and deciding what to order is definitely up there. You say “I’ll go last” as your eyes dart frantically between the ravioli special and the pan-seared fish; you place your order, and then wonder if you made the right choice as the server walks away. Well, Google wants to help you out. Earlier this week, the tech company launched some new Google Lens features to ease your ordering worries, from highlighting the most popular dishes on the menu to helping you split the bill and tip—with minimal math on your part required.
If you’ve never used Google Lens, iPhone users can find it in the Google app (you’ll see the icon in the search bar) or Google photos app; for Pixel and Android users, open your camera and tap the Google Lens icon. To access the new dining features in Lens, simply scroll to the right until you reach the knife and fork icon. Then, point your camera at the menu—for it to work, you need to be at the physical restaurant with location services turned on. Here's everything the features unlock:
Popular Menu Items and Reviews
Lens will automatically highlight the most popular dishes on the menu in orange, with star icons next to their names. If you’re curious about a specific meal, tap on it, and photos and reviews will generate from Google Maps data.
Tips and splitting the bill
Once you get the check, scan your receipt with Lens, and the data will automatically enter into a calculator—all you have to do is input the number of diners in the “split” field. The tip and individual total will then appear, so you know exactly how much to Venmo request everyone.
If you’re traveling abroad, Google Lens also proves useful. Scan it over a menu or sign, and it will detect the language and translate for you, overlaying the translation over the original text. The tool works with over 100 different languages.
New for Android Users
Additionally, Google announced a new Google Maps feature on Thursday that shows a restaurant’s “most-talked-about meals.” If you search the restaurant in Maps, you can find the popular menu items in the overview tab, and scroll through them and find photos and reviews in the menu tab. Currently, this feature is only available to Android users.
In other Google news, Google Arts & Culture launched “Spain: An Open Kitchen” back in March, which is a digital exhibit dedicated to all things Spanish food. You can learn about El Bulli, the legendary (now shuttered) restaurant that pioneered molecular gastronomy; for wine enthusiasts, a map breaks down all the different wine-producing regions around the country. Check out the full spread on the Google Arts & Culture site.