This week, the creators of the YouVersion Bible App are celebrating the release of their newest app called Bible Lens. The app matches relevant Bible verses with a person's photos and automatically creates visually appealing, sharable artwork.
"As technologies emerge and create new possibilities, it's important to us that the Bible be at the forefront of innovation," said Bobby Gruenewald, Life.Church pastor, Innovation leader and YouVersion founder. "We believe Bible Lens will make it easier for people to see connections between the Bible and their everyday lives, and we're encouraged by the number of people who have shown an interest in engaging with the Bible in this way."
Bible Lens launched Saturday, Aug. 4. Within the first weekend, the app reached more than 265,000 installs, earning it the No. 1 ranking in the App Store's Lifestyle category and number two of all free apps. Since its launch in the App Store in August, Bible Lens has been downloaded on more than 465,000 devices and more than 840,000 images have been saved. It's now available for Android.
Using a form of artificial intelligence known as machine vision, Bible Lens analyzes content in a photo like objects, backgrounds, colors and more to identify themes. Then the app searches the YouVersion database for the most relevant Bible verse to suggest to the user. With software that balances design elements like font choice and white space, the app automatically and artistically renders the verse on top of the image, creating beautiful artwork for sharing.
"If I take a picture of my left hand, Bible Lens would identify my wedding band and likely create an image that highlights marriage. If the app identified a source of light in my photo, it might suggest a Bible verse about how Jesus is the light of the world," said Gruenewald. "It's incredible technology that affords us the unique opportunity to help people see their world with a different perspective."
Bible Lens will also offer the option to create images from photos saved in a user's camera roll. The app will draw connections between the Bible and photographed moments like birthday parties, lunch dates, holidays and sporting events. The app will also recognize when the photo is a selfie.
"The selfie is often used as a way for a person to gain approval from others," said Gruenewald. "When the app comes across a selfie, it will offer Bible verses to encourage them by suggesting what God may say about them. In that way, we hope Bible Lens actually redeems the selfie."
Bible Lens is the third app from YouVersion, which was created by Life.Church to help people engage with the Bible. It follows the Bible App for Kids, which launched in 2013, and the YouVersion Bible App, which launched on the first day of Apple's App Store and has since been downloaded on 330 million devices and in every country in the world.
After more than a decade of developing apps, YouVersion continues to imagine new ways for people to connect with the Bible. Bible Lens is the first product from YouVersion's Bible Labs, a small team of software engineers and designers leveraging existing and emerging technologies for Bible engagement.
"Everywhere you look, you can see people taking photos to document their lives. Our hope is that as people scroll through their photos, Bible Lens will help them become more aware of God's presence in each moment by connecting their experiences to the Bible," said Gruenewald. "We're humbled that we get to be a part of this movement of God, and we can't wait to see how Bible Lens will make a difference in people's lives in the years ahead."
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