Google Lens is a powerful tool that can be used to search for information, translate text, and even scan QR codes, all using just your smartphone camera. You can use it to search with images instead of just text. But the Google Lens app is not available on the desktop like it is on Android and iOS. Even opening the Google Lens website doesn’t help. But I have some tricks for you to access and use Google Lens on a desktop.
Table of Contents
What Is Google Lens
It’s like a visual search engine. Instead of using text to search for something, you can use the camera or photos to search for anything in the frame. You can also use it to extract text, translate languages in real life, shop for something, etc. On desktop, it is subtly integrated into some popular Google services. While it isn’t as feature-rich as on the mobile, it can still be used to extract text, find more similar images, etc.
Access and Use Google Lens on Desktop
There are many ways you can access Google Lens.
1. Google Images
Google Lens is integrated into the Google Images page and offers the option to search for anything inside the image. It can give a description of a selected part of the image, show more similar images, provides links to buy products from images, etc. However, it cannot extract text from images or translate them.
1. Search for anything on Google and open the Images tab.
2. In the Images tab, select any image that you want to scan using the Google Lens
3. Now click on the Google Lens icon at the bottom left corner of the image.
4. It will scan the image with Google Lens and come back with other images that are visually matching.
5. You can adjust the borders in the image to search for something specific in the image too.
6. Google Lens automatically places dots on some objects that you can select and find similar visual matches. So instead of adjusting the borders manually, you can just click on the dot to search for that object.
Except for showing images that are visually matching, Google Lens on Google Images is pretty limited.
2. Google Chrome
Google Lens is not enabled by default on Chrome browser as of January 2023 at the time of writing this article. You need to enable a flag that will enable the feature on Chrome. Google Lens inside Chrome allows you to search for visual matches and also allows you to copy and translate text in the image. Once enabled, you can use it to search for any image on any webpage.
1. Open chrome://flags and search for enable-lens-standalone option.
2. Now click on the drop-down beside that option and select Enabled option in the menu.
3. Then click on the Relaunch option. This will close and reopen the Chrome browser.
Note: If you have any unsaved work, save it before clicking on the Relaunch option.
4. Now right-click on any image on any website. In the context menu, select the Search image with the Google option. This works on most websites like Google, Google Photos, blogs, etc. except if they are highly secured like bank web pages that prevent right-click, save, etc.
5. It will open a left sidebar with the info you need and also the visual matches.
6. Choosing the Text option in the Google Lens sidebar will let you copy the text in the image, listen to the text in audio format, search for its meaning, and more.
7. You can also select the Translate option. This will translate all the text in the image to the selected language. You can switch the languages above the image.
8. Other than the image, you can also right-click anywhere on the webpage and then click on Search images with the Google option.
9. Drag and select the portion with your mouse or trackpad that you want to scan with Google Lens.
10. As soon as you are done selecting, it will open Google Lens and search for similar items in the image or area you have selected.
3. Google Photos
Google Lens is baked into the Google Photos app but is quite limited as it can only extract text from images. Also, you cannot start the extraction process on your own. If Google detects any text in an image, it will display a small pop-up on the image. Sometimes, it ignores when the text is small or not enough text in the image.
1. Open Google Photos and then open the image that has some text in it that you want to copy.
2. Google Photos will automatically suggest Copy text from the image option. Click on it.
3. On the next page, click on the Copy text button to copy the entire thing.
4. You can also select part of the text that you want to copy and then click on the Copy text.
Nonetheless, you can use Chrome’s Google Lens feature on Google Photos too. Just right-click on the top of any image on Google Photos and select the option Search image with Google. It will search and display similar images.
1. What are the limitations of Google Lens on PC?
Google Lens on PC can only show visually matching results, copy text, and translate text. Other than that, it cannot show shopping results, steps to solve homework, solve math problems, etc. It can scan images but cannot click new images using the camera like on mobile. Also, most features only work on the Chrome browser and you need to enable a flag first.
2. Why I cannot find the Google Lens Chrome flag?
If you can’t find the Google Lens Chrome flag, Google might have enabled it by default. So there can be a chance that they have removed it. Also, make sure to enter the exact search term as the search option in the Chrome flags isn’t that powerful.
Using Google Lens on Desktop
Though there isn’t a dedicated Google Lens app for desktops, you can access the service in multiple ways. By just enabling a flag, it becomes a native Google Chrome feature. Anyhow, it isn’t as feature-rich as Google Lens’ mobile apps for Android and iOS. On Android and iOS, you can scan the QR codes, scan any text on any surface, send it to the desktop and do so much more.