Daily Insights

The New York Times Through a New Lens

By: Mackenzie Baker | Mar 17, 2020

Using Google Lens, The New York Times readers will now be able to discover additional content between the pages when pointing their smartphone camera at the magazine’s annual music issue. The lens technology will include special content and interactive ads that come to life for readers. The exclusive Lens content throughout the magazine includes a preview of the publication’s “25 Songs That Matter Right Now”, special podcast links, and behind the scenes videos with Editor In Chief Jake Silverstein and designer Gail Bichler discussing this year’s issue. 

Connecting a print magazine to digital content will allow both Google and The New York Times to test the effect of the technology on their respective audiences. The New York Times is Google Lens’ first news partner, but if things go well it may not be the last. Google is interested in partnering with other media companies, but is using this rollout as an experiment to test the value the lens adds for readers. 

For its first attempt at using Google Lens, The New York Times chose a sizable assignment—this year’s annual music issue features three different versions. The three covers each feature a different artist: Billie Eillish, Lil Nas X, or Megan Thee Stallion—all are fully lens-enabled and even let users save articles to the magazine’s app on their phones through Google Lens. Allowing users to save articles from the print magazine on their smart devices could help The New York Times  prioritize long-lasting customer engagement, as well as help Google propagate its mobile efforts, according to a Gartner report on the topic. 

Google Lens is helping users stay ahead of the times with its latest high tech venture. Although The New York Times is the first news publication to give the AR experience a run in its print magazine, this digital engagement effort could quickly catch on in the publication world.