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A wild new Google Photos update lets desktop users copy text directly from an image

This feature was previously only found on mobile devices.

google photos logo on blurry background
Image: KnowTechie

A popular Google Photos feature that allows users to copy text found in a photo is finally making its way to desktop. This marks the first time that the feature will be available on PC. Previously, the feature was only available on mobile as part of the Google Lens technology.

Google Lens is a standalone app that also integrates with several other apps, like Google Photos, across Android devices. Lens introduced a feature called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in 2018 that allowed users to copy any text that is found inside of an image. Originally, Google Lens was only featured on mobile devices, but as found by 9to5Google, it looks like Google will begin to roll out Lens to desktop, with OCR being the leading feature.

The feature rolled out to a majority of users over the weekend. When opening an image on the Google Photos website, you’ll see a prompt to copy all image text at the top of the screen. From there, Google’s AI will scrape the image and compile all of the words found into a text box that will pop up. Then users can either pick and choose what text they need or copy the entire thing to another document.

google photos image text reader
Image: KnowTechie

I tried the feature on the Google Photos website with a couple of random images, and it seems to work pretty well. There are some minor mistakes, especially with words written in wild fonts, but for the most part, the feature works flawlessly. All of the text is compiled in order onto a pop-up screen on the right side of the page, where I can then copy the text that I need.

This is the first time that we are seeing any of the Lens features on any platform other than mobile. For now, only the OCR is available on the desktop version of Google Photos, but other features, like monument recognition, may be coming in the future.

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