Use Lookout to explore your environment

With Lookout, you can get details about objects, images and text around you. Lookout uses the camera and sensors on your Android device to recognise objects and text, then tells you what it finds.

Step 1: Check requirements

To download and use Lookout, make sure that your device is supported.

  • Android version: 6.0 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.
  • Languages: Bengali, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Step 2: Install and turn on Lookout

  1. Download Lookout on Google Play.
  2. Start Lookout with one of these options: 
    • Say 'Hey Google, start Lookout'.  
    • In the apps section on your phone, select Lookout Lookout.
  3. The first time that you open Lookout, follow the prompts on your screen to learn how your data is used.
  4. To let Lookout take pictures and record video, select Allow.
  5. Hold your device so that the camera faces outwards.

Use Lookout modes

Lookout has five modes that you can use for different activities.

Switch between Lookout modes

To change modes, at the bottom of your screen, tap a mode. If you use TalkBack, double-tap a mode. You can also swipe from left to right. If you use Talkback, use a two-finger swipe.

Modes you can use

Text mode

By default, Lookout starts in text mode. Point your camera at any text. For example, try this mode to sort mail or read signs.

If the text isn't read clearly, rotate your device between landscape and portrait, or move the text closer or further away.

Explore mode (beta)

Important: Explore mode is still in beta and is less accurate than other modes.

Point your camera around you to hear about what’s in your environment, such as objects and text.

Food labels mode (beta)

Important: Food labels mode is currently available in selected countries.

Important: Food label mode is currently only available in some countries. The first time that you select food label mode, follow the prompt to download additional data. This download lets food label mode recognise food labels, get results faster and work offline.

Lookout can scan barcodes or recognise the front of a packaged food product. Hold the product’s label in front of your camera and slowly rotate it.

Tip: The first time you select Food labels mode, follow the prompt to “Download additional data.” This download lets Lookout recognize food labels, get results faster, and work offline.

Documents mode

You can use documents mode to read full pages of text or handwriting.

To use documents mode:

  1. Put the document on a flat surface.                                                                    
  2. Hold your device in portrait position.
  3. Start with the camera very close to the document.
  4. Slowly move further away from the document.
  5. Listen as Lookout gives you real-time guidance to take a picture of the document.

Tip: To read the text in view, you can also tap Take snapshot. Sometimes Lookout reads a snapshot better than the live camera view.

Currency mode

Important: Currency mode doesn’t recognise coins and only works with US dollars.

Aim your camera at one banknote at a time.

Images mode (beta)

Important: Some features are only currently available in English.

You can use Images mode to have the contents of an image described. You can open an image from within Lookout or you can share an image to Lookout from another app.

Depending on the image, Lookout summarises the content with a caption and offers further details. If the image has a location or timestamp in the file, Lookout also reports that information.

The quality of the image can impact the amount and accuracy of detail provided. Poor lighting, blurring, low resolution and occlusion can negatively affect the results.

Tips for using Lookout

Stop and start Lookout

  • To stop or start Lookout, tap Turn camera on or Turn camera off. If you use TalkBack, double-tap.
  • Your phone will vibrate when you've stopped Lookout.

Change language and country

By default, Lookout uses the same settings as your Android phone. However, you can change language for Text, Document and Explore modes, and change country for Food label mode. This enables you to use Lookout in multilingual environments. 

After you open Lookout on your device:

  1. Choose your mode.
  2. Choose your language or country.
  3. To return to the active mode, click the back button.

If you change your country for Food label mode, you're prompted to download fresh data for that country.

Review or share recent results

In your Recents list, you can review a history of items that Lookout has detected. To share a result with someone else: 

  1. Select Recents
  2. Scroll through your results one at a time.
  3. Select an item to get details.
  4. To share an item, select Share .
  5. Select the app where you'd like to share or store the result.

Recent items are automatically deleted every time that you close Lookout.

Change Lookout settings

  1. In the apps section on your phone, select Lookout Lookout.
  2. Select the account menu and then Settings.
  3. Review or change the following settings:
    • Better image recognition: Send Lookout imagery to Google's servers for better results. 
      • Images are stored on your device. To send images to Google's servers for processing only, choose from Wi-Fi only, Wi-Fi and mobile data or Off.
    • Automatic torch: Automatically use your torch to improve image recognition.
    • Document scan hints: Get document scan guidance.
    • Haptic feedback: Use vibrations to confirm your actions.
    • Text-to-Speech output settings: Customise your Lookout Text-to-Speech settings. 
      • These settings are separate from your device OS text-to-speech settings. You can adjust speech rate, pitch, play a sample or reset to the system defaults.

Help and feedback

To send feedback about Lookout:

  1. In the apps section on your phone, select Lookout Lookout
  2. Select the account menu and then Help and feedback.

For more help using Lookout, contact the Google Disability support team.

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