Google Lens has long been part of Google Photos to help you visually search images. On Android, Google Lens is now a more prominent part of Photos by identifying what pictures would benefit from the analysis and search tool.

Today, Lens is activated by opening a photo and selecting the appropriate icon in the bottom bar. It appears alongside the share, edit, and delete actions.

Google is now making Lens available in the info sheet that appears when swiping up on an image. There is a new “Search inside this photo” section underneath the date/time. Cleverly, this card only appears when Google detects that Lens would be useful, i.e. if the image or screenshot includes text. As such, pictures are quickly being analyzed the moment you pull up the sheet. This feature does not initially work to recognize monuments in our brief testing.

There’s a small thumbnail with prompt to “Select text in image” and “Google Lens.” The four options are: Copy text, Search, Listen, and Translate. Tapping any will immediately launch Lens into that mode.

Google Lens is very useful for optical character recognition (OCR) and a great time saver. However, most people don’t know that it’s available, and today’s addition is a step towards increasing its prominence.

This expanded availability for Google Lens in Photos for Android is widely rolled out (via Android Police) on the latest version (5.33) of the application. It’s not yet appearing in the iOS client, which has not been updated since December and is missing a new tablet-optimized view.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: