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Google Lens’ Optical Character Recognition Is Coming to Google Photos’ Desktop Version

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Google seems to have recently integrated Google Lens’ optical character recognition (OCR) into the desktop version of Google Photos.

google photos shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

According to 9to5Google’s Abner Li, Google Photos’ desktop version will now be able to detect text from images containing them and allow users to copy and paste the detected text anywhere they want. Users may also omit words from the detected text to specify which parts of the text they want to have.

This new feature gives a huge practical advantage to those who need to copy text directly from a book such as students, researchers and teachers as they will only need to snap a photo of a book page instead of typing the text themselves; a huge timesaver.

Unfortunately, not everyone can use Google Photos’ new OCR on its desktop version just yet. We at have tried using it but it seems it was still unavailable for us. XDA-Developers have also encountered the same situation, stating that it was also unavailable when their article was published. The Verge’s Mitchell Clark, however, has successfully used the new feature and has posted pictures of the feature in action in his article.

To use Google Photos’ new OCR on its desktop version, you’ll have to upload an image that contains text first. Once uploaded and opened in Google Photos, a suggestion containing the words “copy text from image” along with Google Lens’ logo will appear to the left of the Share, Edit, Info, and other controls for Google Photos; tap this suggestion to let Google detect the text in the image. Once the text is detected, Google Photos will display them on a panel to the right of the image uploaded. Clark observed that the OCR in Google Photos’ desktop version is still unable to translate text nor can it identify things like plants and animals.

If you need another way to easily acquire text from images, then Google has you covered. Google Lens and its OCR feature can be accessed through the Google Photos app on Android and iOS. For now though, we’re keeping our eyes out for a wider roll-out of the feature on the desktop app.


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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