Even after trawling through almost all aspects of the recent Android 12 Developer Preview, things slip the net. One of those looks to be the long-overdue addition of a Google Lens translate option within the Android recent apps panel.

If you cast your mind back, this feature was touted as far back as July 2019 during the Android 10 preview phase. The original Android Q solution provided a dedicated “Translate” button in the recents panel that would pop up a dedicated panel powered by Google Translate.

On top of that, the December 2020 Pixel Feature Drop added or at least prepared the feature, but it has been absent on devices since first appearing within the original changelog. This hints that this arriving with the latest Android 12 Developer Preview is just a mere coincidence, although it’s not particularly clear.

The App Overview/multitasking screen features a new Lens translation suggestion/chip for apps and websites

According to Android Police, who first spotted this new Google Lens Translate button/chip, when viewing a page or app with a non-native language to your current region/device settings, you’ll then sporadically get a small pop-up below each app preview that allows you to directly decipher any text. We’re not sure how widely this is available, as even running the latest Android 12 Developer Preview 2.1, we’re unable to get this “Translate” pop-up to appear.

google lens translate
Image: Android Police

As you can see, this floating Google Lens “Translate” button sits just beneath the app preview and above the “Screenshot” and “Select” tools when using the Recents panel. This makes a lot of sense and begs the question of whether we’ll see more Lens-related options appearing here contextually in future. This feature feels more targeted toward multi-tasking, allowing you to quickly translate text without needing to fully launch an application fullscreen and manually select portions.

As we noted, this feature was buried within the December 2020 Pixel Feature Drop. So, in theory, it shouldn’t be bound by Android 12, but that could be a catalyst, or it might even simply be activated by a server-side switch. So, if like us, you’re not seeing the Google Lens Translate option when opening the recents menu, fear not. Let’s hope that after almost two years, we get to see more contextual options such as translation appearing within the recent panel.

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