The desktop Google Photos website appears to have the ability to scan to text in an image and convert it into text that can be copied and pasted, thanks to Google’s Lens technology (through 9to5GoogleLens has been available on Android in many places for a while, but the optical character recognition (OCR) feature coming to the desktop could make Google Photos an easy and free way to get real text on your computer.
According to 9to5Google, the position seems to be rolling out widely, but one writer added XDA Developers hadn’t shown it to themHowever, I was able to use it. To use it (or to check if you already have it), load the Google Photos site and go to a photo where you’ve captured some text (like a page of a book, a sign, a receipt, etc. .). If Google detects words, the ‘Copy Text from Image’ button should appear, and clicking on it will open a window where you can read the text Google found.
A practical application of Lens on a desktop could be to scan written text documents and paste them into something that you write on a desktop computer. To test this, I took this photo of an open book and the results were almost flawless:
Lens even managed to interpret an “æ” correctly.
Google Lens has many more possibilities on Android (and in the iOS Google Photos app), but it seems like copying text is the only one to show up on the desktop so far. The browser version of Google Photos didn’t offer to translate an image with Spanish text (although I could copy the text), and it doesn’t look like it can identify things like animals or plants.
Still, it’s nice to see one of Lens’s most useful features coming to the desktop version of Google Photos, and hopefully it’s an indication that more are on the way.