Announced almost four years ago, Lens is one of Google’s silent workers that power many of the features mobile users might be taking for granted these days. It powers both Google Photos’ and Google Assistant’s image recognition functionality, but Lens also has its own separate app on mobile. It doesn’t have much of an existence outside smartphones, however, but that might soon change as Google works to integrate Lens functionality right inside Search results, at least in Chrome for the desktop.
Google Lens is pretty much the company’s showcase for many of its advanced computer technologies. It uses image recognition to identify objects and machine learning to bring up relevant information about the object. That functionality comes in handy when pointing a phone’s camera at an item or even a landmark, but not so much when you’re doing an Internet search on your desktop or laptop.
That said, Lens can still come in handy when you want to learn more about an image search result rather than just text. While Google does have a dedicated reverse image search, the process is more than just a bit cumbersome. Last month, it was revealed that Google has been working on finally bringing Google Lens to the desktop for that very purpose, and new information shows how that is going to work.
Reddit user Leopeva64 reveals that Google Lens search can be initiated by right-clicking on an image or part of the Search result page. Users will be given a rectangle that they can resize to select a region of the page. Once they release the mouse, Lens’ search results will appear in a Chrome sidebar on the right, similar to where Chrome shows its Reading List.
It’s definitely a welcome addition to Search functionality, especially since you don’t have to go the roundabout way of taking a screenshot or downloading the image to upload it to Google’s reverse image search. At the moment, however, the rollout schedule for this feature is still up in the air, and it’s unknown if it will be a Chrome-exclusive or a more generic Google Search function.