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6 AI tools to help you celebrate Valentine's day the African way

Skip the generic gifts! These Google AI tools will inspire unique presents and unforgettable experiences for your loved ones.

Valentine's day

Google Lens is the ultimate companion tool when gift inspiration strikes. You might already know that Lens is a handy shopping feature that allows you to take a photo of something and find what it is and where to buy it or something similar. But there are a couple other ways it can work, too. For example, my mom loves getting flowers, so when I see some while out on a run I can quickly open the Google app (Android and iOS) and snap a pic with Lens to identify them. (Plus, using multisearch, I could even type in descriptive text to search for, say, similar flowers in a blue hue.) And since my husband and I like to go big on a fancy meal instead of exchanging gifts on Valentine’s Day, if I see a pic of a pasta dinner we really loved while vacationing in Italy in my photo gallery, I can ask Lens to tell me more about what it was and help me find a restaurant near me that serves it.

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I get tons of gift ideas when I’m scrolling social media that make me think of my friends and family — so if I happen to come across an image that happens to have the perfect dog bed in the background, I can use Circle to Search to help me find out more about it without leaving whatever app I’m using.

All I have to do is simply circle, highlight or scribble that specific part of an item and Circle to Search can help me discover more about the item and even shop for it or similar items from a range of retailers without switching apps. Circle to Search is available on Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series.

A picture is worth a thousand words — including, “Thank you so much, I love it!” While my first love language is sharing an elaborate meal, a close runner-up is photo gifts. I take a ton of photos with my Pixel 8 Pro, especially during special trips and important moments, and preserving those memories for my loved ones can make a thoughtful, affordable gift.

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Like the photo below that I took at Yosemite on a hiking trip with my husband, which I captured using the Tensor-powered Super Res Zoom feature. Or the one I took of the night sky with Night Sight (which also uses AI) during a yearly camping trip with my girlfriends. Whatever photos I end up using, I’ll also run them through AI editing features like Magic Eraser to get rid of unwanted objects or Photo Unblur to clean them up a bit before I print them.

And if you plan on sharing or gifting a photo of you and your significant other, Best Take is your best friend: This tool uses AI to scan a handful of photos taken in quick succession and allows you to select the best image of each person in the picture.

Stuck on finding the perfect experience? Let Gemini be your genie in a digital bottle! Ask it open-ended questions like "romantic things to do in Cape Town this Valentine's Day" or "unique Valentine's Day experiences in Johannesburg," and watch a treasure trove of personalised ideas unfold. It's like having a knowledgeable friend by your side, guiding you towards experiences that resonate with your love and the spirit of Africa.

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You don’t have to spend money on a gift to let someone know you’re thinking of them. If you need an artistic spark, here are two Google AI experiments you should try: First, there’s Instrument Playground, a Google AI-powered tool that lets you choose one of over 100 instruments from around the world you’d like to play to generate a 20 second sound clip. What’s more, you can add an adjective to your prompt - such as 'romantic' - to shape the results, making sure your clip captures the perfect mood for Valentine’s Day.

If words are more your thing, try Poem Portraits, an algorithm trained on more than 20 million words of 19th century poetry. All you have to do is choose a single word as a jumping off point and Poem Portraits will write a short poem for you, as well as add it to a stylised photo from your camera roll (if you want it to — you can skip this option). You can save this short poem as well as add it to the collective poem, a massive crowd-based, ongoing text based on user contributions. Which, I suppose, you could think of as a gift for everyone who comes across it.

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Set the mood with a soundtrack that beats to the rhythm of your hearts. With YouTube Music, you're just a search away from crafting the perfect Afropop love song playlist. Let the vibrant melodies of amapiano or the soulful harmonies of highlife fill the air, creating an unforgettable ambiance that lingers long after the last note fades.

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