Google Lens FAQ

Explore the de Young’s building and collections in an entirely new way with Google Lens. In a special collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, you can now use your smartphone’s camera to search what you see in the museum. Use Google Lens to identify artworks and discover the artists and hidden stories behind the American art paintings, or, join the artist Ana Prvački on a witty and playful alternative exhibition and tour of the de Young’s free public spaces.

What is Google Lens?

Google Lens is an image recognition technology that uses your smartphone’s camera to detect an object and provide information about it and the world around you. Google Lens is available as a stand-alone app on Android, or as a feature on the Google Search app on iPhone.

For more information about Google Lens, visit g.co/lens.

What can I explore at the de Young using Google Lens?

American art collection
Google Lens is available for all American art paintings in Galleries 20–29 and 50, on the Upper Level. Point your camera at any of the 250+ American art paintings on view to unlock their hidden stories.

Admission to the museum’s permanent collections is required for viewing.

Ana Prvački: Detour  (June 11–January 2, 2020)
In the exhibition Detour, artist Ana Prvački takes you on an alternative tour of the museum, guiding you to specific spots, and asking you to rethink parts of the museum visitors may not normally consider. Trigger Prvački’s short videos on your mobile devices with Google Lens by pointing your camera at the icon on the exhibition label.

Ana Prvački: Detour is installed in the de Young’s public spaces; no admission required. Pick up a brochure and map of the exhibition stops near the ticketing desk.

How do I get started?

black download iconDownload the Google app (iOS) or the Google Lens app (Android).


Google Lens icon Open Google Lens on your mobile device. (For iPhone users, tap on the Google Lens icon in the Google search bar.) Point your camera at an American art painting or an Ana Prvacki: Detour icon and hold it steady.

black icon showing index finger tapping screenTap the dot that appears on the screen to learn more.


Do I have to pay for the app?

Google Lens is free and can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices. General admission is required to access the museum’s permanent collections.

Do I need internet access?

Yes. For the best experience, connect to the de Young’s free network: de Young | Guest

What devices are compatible?

Google Lens works on iPhone 6 and above, and on Android phones that have at least 2 GB of memory available.

The Google Lens camera doesn’t recognize anything.

If something seems to be going wrong with the app, try closing and re-opening it. If the problem continues, try clearing the cache or reinstalling the app.

Where can I charge my phone?

A free cell phone charging station is available at the Lower Level of the museum, near the restrooms. Ask a visitor services attendant if you have trouble locating it.

Google is a pretty big company to be partnering with. Will you be capturing any data about me?

The museum can track how many visitors engage with the experience, but the museum is not capturing any data specific to an individual user.

I can’t find all of the Ana Prvacki: Detour stops.

The Orpheus & Eurydice stop in the Piazzoni Murals Room is occasionally off-view during private events. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Still have questions or feedback? We’d love to hear from you.

The de Young is an early partner with Google Lens, and is continuously experimenting with new technologies to enhance and augment the museum experience. We know that there is always room for improvement, and any feedback about the features or performance of the experience is valuable and deeply appreciated. Email us at digital@famsf.org if you have any questions or suggestions.