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Google Lens can now select the text seen in a photo. (Photo: Google)

Ahead of Mobile World Congress, Google announced Friday it is bringing its augmented reality and Google Lens smart camera tools to more devices — and giving both new tricks.

Why it matters: Convincing developers to build for AR is, in part, a numbers game. Apple's ARKit is already supported on lots and lots of iPhones so getting Google's rival ARCore on more devices is important. Google Lens, meanwhile, is the evolution of the search box, using what the camera sees as the query.

As for Google Lens, Google is also expanding what the camera-based search tool can do, both within Google Photos and Google Assistant apps. Even iPhone users will be able to use Google Lens within the Google Photos app.

  • Capture text within a photo — Perhaps Google Lens' coolest new trick will be to covert the words inside a photo into text that you can copy and paste. It will also be able to make sense of things like business cards and add the information to your contacts. Translating text between languages isn't in this version but is planned, Google told Axios.
  • Google Lens will also be able to classify the types of plants and animals found within photos, which, according to Google was a highly-requested feature.

On the AR front, ARCore moves out of developer preview and will now work with certain high-end models from Samsung, LG, Asus and OnePlus, in addition to Google's Pixel and Pixel 2 models. Many of this year's flagship phones will also support ARCore, including devices from Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, ASUS, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo.

Go deeper

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

4 hours ago - Health

First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Two cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in the United Kingdom overnight, the U.K. Health Security Agency announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The discovery comes as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.