It’s a tiny something called Google Lens, and it has been gradually gaining capabilities on Android for years. Strangely enough, Google doesn’t make a big deal out of it, and you really have to look for it to even know that it exists. You’ll feel like you have a magic wand in your pocket once you find it, though.
Google Lens can best be characterized as a search engine for the actual world at its core. It employs artificial intelligence to recognize language and objects in photographs as well as in a live view from your phone’s camera, and it then gives you a variety of exciting ways to learn about and interact with those aspects. However, while Lens’s abilities too, for example, identify flowers, seek up a book, or provide information about a landmark are astounding, the system’s more commonplace-appearing productivity abilities are much more likely to find a home in your daily life.
Grab the Google Lens app from the app store on your nearest Android device, if you haven’t already, and get ready to teach your phone some incredibly helpful new skills.
First Google Lens Tip: Steal Text from The Real World
The most useful feature of Google Lens, and the one I use the most, is its capacity to extract text from tangible documents, including papers, books, whiteboards, suspiciously wordy tattoos on your rear, and copy that content to your phone’s clipboard. From there, you can quickly paste the text into any type of document, including a Google Doc, a note, an email, a Slack discussion, and more.
Simply launch the Google Lens app and select “Search using your camera” from the menu that appears. You can select the exact section of text you want as if it were conventional digital text on a webpage by pointing your camera at any nearby text and tapping your finger on any area of the viewfinder.
Every word will be on your system clipboard and available for pasting anywhere your thumpy little heart wishes after you simply click the “Copy text” command in the panel at the bottom of the screen.
Second Google Lens Tip: Text Your Computer from The Outside World
The majority of us don’t work exclusively from our Android phones, let’s face it. The lens can also help you if you need to upload any real-world text to your computer.
Just follow the same steps as before, but this time, scan the panel at the bottom of the screen for the “Copy to computer” option. Any machine, running Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS should have that choice available as long as you are actively signed into Chrome with the same Google account. And when you tap it, you’ll see a list of all the locations that are accessible.
Simply select the desired system, and, as if by magic, the text from the real document will be on that computer’s clipboard and available for pasting wherever you desire. Ctrl-V (or Cmd-V on a Mac) will do the trick. It will automatically appear in any text field within a compatible app or process.
Third Google Lens Tip: Hear Text from The Actual World Being Read Aloud
You might have recently received a lengthy memo, a printed-out brief, or a letter from your cherished aunt Sally. Whatever it is, while you’re on the go and in between meetings, give your eyes a break and let Lens read it for you.
Simply repeat our previous procedure of pointing your phone at the paper and selecting the “Text” option. Choose any text you like, and this time, seek the tiny “Listen” option in the panel at the bottom of the screen.
When you press that button with your pinky, the Google Lens app will read the selected text aloud to you in a calming voice. Hello, Google While we’re about it, how about reading a bedtime story?
The Fourth Google Lens Tip Is to Interact with Text Within an Image.
In addition to the real-time content, Lens can extract and analyze text from photographs, including screenshots as well as the actual photos you’ve taken.
The last sentence raises some intriguing possibilities. Let’s say you recently received an email with a tracking number, but the tracking number is some weird form of text that annoys you by not being able to be copied. (It seems to me that this occurs far too frequently.) Or perhaps you’re viewing a web page or presentation where the text isn’t selectable for some reason
So, take a screenshot by simultaneously pushing the power and volume-down buttons on your phone, and then go to the Google Lens app. On the Lens home screen, locate the screenshot, tap it, then select “Text” at the bottom of the display. The text you desire can then be easily selected. You can then copy the text, email it to a computer, or use any of Lens’s other cutting-edge techniques.