Just over a year ago, Google Assistant swapped out the “What’s on my screen?” button with a Lens-branded shortcut that could now be replaced by “Search this screen.”

Compared to “What’s on my screen,” the existing Lens button does not appear every time Google Assistant is invoked. It shows up in Chrome and Twitter (alongside “Read”), but availability is hit or miss in third-party apps. As such, it cannot be reliably used to perform visual searches or OCR (optical character recognition) for convenient copying, though you can use Android’s Recents menu as an alternative.

According to one report today, a “Search this screen” button is appearing in Assistant on Android. Lens-branded, though with the old icon, the key difference from what came before is how this button looks to consistently appear everywhere, regardless of app or context. Tapping should capture the current screen and let you access the Translate, Text, Search, Homework, Shopping, Places, and Dining filters.

Current vs. new u/andyooo

This new Lens screen search button in Assistant is not yet widely rolled out, and so far has appeared for one Pixel 6 Pro owner running Google app We’re not seeing it on several Pixel phones and third-party devices we checked today. Hopefully, Google will roll out this replacement as it’s better than the current approach, and will help increase Lens usage.

As of late, Google has been on a Lens push. For example, I’ve seen bus stop ads that prompt you to “Find that thing” with Lens, which is paired with a “Search what you see” tagline. 

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com