Latest MIUI Camera app hints at Google Lens Suggestions and Panoramic Selfies


Xiaomi recently launched the Mi 9, their latest flagship smartphone and their first to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. In our review, we noted how Xiaomi added multiple features to MIUI with the Mi 9 such as a system-wide dark mode and Game Turbo while the MIUI Camera app got features like group selfies and tilt shift. Now, it appears that Xiaomi is preparing to add new features to the MIUI Camera app: Google Lens Suggestions and panoramic selfies. We expect to see these features launch first on the Xiaomi Mi 9, though we don’t have any confirmation about which devices will receive the features.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Xiaomi in a future build.

Google Lens Suggestions for some Xiaomi devices

Google Lens uses your smartphone’s camera to detect objects and provide useful information about what you’re seeing, essentially turning what you see into a query for Google search. I find Google Lens most useful for translating text and scanning barcodes. Here’s a video by Google that shows off some of Google Lens’ capabilities:

On most smartphones, Google Lens is accessed by tapping a shortcut in either the launcher, Google Assistant, Google Photos, or the camera app. On the Google Pixel 3 and LG G8 ThinQ, Google Lens works in real-time through the camera viewfinder. That means you can point your phone at a business card and Google Lens will automatically detect the email address, even if you haven’t launched Lens.

Video showing off Google Lens Suggestions. Source: Google’s Pixel Tips app on the Google Pixel 3.

Now, it appears that one or more Xiaomi devices will be getting support for Google Lens Suggestions. The latest MIUI camera app added strings for a new setting called “Lens Suggestions” with the description stating that Lens will be able to “auto identify QR codes, emails, numbers, and more.”

Lens Suggestions
Auto identify QR codes,Emails,numbers and more
Viewfinder Settings
Google Lens
Google Lens

We confirmed that this feature is currently not present on Adam’s Xiaomi Mi 9. The only way to access Lens in the MIUI Camera app right now is through the dedicated shortcut. Since the LG G8 ThinQ, a Snapdragon 855 device, was the first non-Pixel smartphone to gain support for Google Lens Suggestions, we believe that only Xiaomi’s Snapdragon 855 devices, the Xiaomi Mi 9 and 5G Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, will support this feature. If Xiaomi adds the feature to any of their other smartphones, we would be surprised.

Google Lens
Google Lens

Panoramic Selfies

Panoramic selfies, or panoselfie for short, are panoramas that you take via the front-facing camera. It’s an old concept, but the feature will be new to Xiaomi devices. We just don’t know which ones will get it. The following strings, new to the MIUI Camera app, show that Xiaomi is adding the feature under the name “wide selfie,” but it’s clear from the feature description that it’s a panoramic selfie.

Tap the shutter button
"Couldn't save panorama"
Rotate the phone sideways slowly
Tilt the phone backward
Tilt the phone forward
Rotate the phone to the left slowly
Rotate the phone to the right slowly

Unlike Google Lens Suggestions, we expect panoramic selfies to become widely available for Xiaomi devices once the feature goes live. The feature isn’t live on Adam’s Xiaomi Mi 9 running the latest MIUI Global Stable, nor is it available on the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE or Xiaomi Mi 6 running the latest MIUI China Developer ROM.

That’s all that we’ve uncovered in the latest MIUI Camera app. If we learn about any other new feature, we’ll let you all know.

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

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