Those who are used to using Google Lens as an app or as an in-app feature on their mobile devices will be happy to hear that Google is expanding its functionality to the desktop. Well, at least in part. Google Lens will bring OCR to your Google Photos so you can copy text from images and then paste them into any document or application where you need it. It’s a convenient feature to have through Google Lens, but we don’t know what other features will be able to expand to the desktop eventually.
According to 9 to 5 Google, this Google Lens feature seems to be available now to a large number of Google Photos users. When you open an image with text via the browser or desktop app, you will see a “Copy text from image” suggestion at the top, just to the left of the Share, Edit, Info tools on the site. When you tap on it, it will launch Google Lens and, as with the mobile app, you will see some pulsing dots for a few seconds while you analyze the image.
Then it will launch a right panel with all the detected text. You can highlight the specific text you want to copy or “deselect the text” in the upper right corner and highlight the part you want to copy. Then you can go ahead and paste it into Word, Evernote, Facebook or wherever you need to paste and save the specific text. This is convenient for things like capturing details on a calling card that you took a photo of, copying the text from a screenshot, etc.
This is actually the first time Google Lens has been available anywhere other than on a mobile device. But the other functionalities like the visual search tool are not available there yet, although it would probably be another useful tool to have in Google Photos for web or desktop as it can help to identify things like plants or monuments etc. The Lens purchase functionality can technically be used in Photos as well, so let’s see if they expand to those other features.
For now, check out Google Photos in your browser and see how it works for your photos that have any type of text. It should be available to all users, but if not, wait a few more days.