You often want to identify different flora and fauna while hiking. Since I have my smartphone with me either way, I would like to have an app to do so.

Which apps tackle the described use-case and also do they work offline?

  • Picture This - android app, it's not perfect but not terrible, does plants but thought our Flax was a pineapple. – Aravona Jan 25 at 10:36
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    The "mandatory xkcd reference" meme has found its way to TGO: xkcd.com/1425 – cobaltduck Jan 25 at 13:53
  • @cobaltduck, it's not that bad now, social media has given certain companies sufficient incentive to solve the problem, including to the point of recognising not just that the photo has ducks in, but also the names of the individuals in the photo. – Separatrix Jan 25 at 15:47
  • @Separatrix - The character in the comic says she needs a research team and five years. Said comic is 4.5 years old. Seems like a pretty good prediction. I honestly don't know where the state-of-the-art is in terms of the "is it a tiger or a field of orange and black flowers" problem. I'm sure the algorithms get better every day, but are still a long ways from even a four-year old human in terms of shape recognition. – cobaltduck Jan 25 at 18:26
  • Hi Kerri! Can you clarify a few things please, especially since the question has been edited? First, is your smartphone an Android or iPhone (iOS system)? Some companies have apps for both, but some are just for one or the other. Second, is ability to use it offline a requirement, or just something you'd appreciate? Last, does it have to be free? Some are, but some cost a few dollars! Thanks! – Sue Jan 26 at 23:38

Google Lens is Google's technology for "searching what you see", including plants and animal. Since it relies on Google's service, doesn't work offline.

Identify plants and animals

Find out what plant is in your friend's apartment, or what kind of dog you saw in the park.

It's available on:

  • Google Lens standalone app (Android 6.0+)
  • Google Assistant (Android 5.0+): "Look for the Lens icon in your Assistant."
  • Google Photos (Android, iOS 10+): "Look for the Lens icon on your photos."

Based on my experience in identifying my dog, photos of insects, and flowers, it might not always be too accurate, though the suggested results with their visual representation sometimes helped.

Disclaimer: not affiliated with Google, just a happy user of it.

  • I assume the question is on-topic as of currently written. Otherwise, let me know and I'm okay with deleting my answer. – Andrew T. Jan 26 at 20:02

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