Google Lens integration makes it into the Chrome browser as well as Google's apps

google chrome users just got this great free upgrade, Tech, Google Chrome users just got this great free upgrade
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

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If you go down to Google Image Search today, you’re in for a big surprise – or at least, you are if you’re using the Chrome browser. The same Google Lens searching that’s already in Android is in the Chrome browser too, and should be coming to other browsers soon (I checked in Safari and it’s not available as yet).

This change is because, according to 9to5Google (opens in new tab), “Google Lens is now the main visual search experience on the desktop Google Images website.”

I’ve been using Google Image Search regularly since day one, and this is a really big upgrade: as you can see in the image below it makes it easy to find related images as well as identify where an image may have come from or been republished on. 

google chrome users just got this great free upgrade, Tech, Google Chrome users just got this great free upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Why Google Lens is a great upgrade

The new image search option is a simple icon between the existing voice and search icons. And if you’re a Chrome user, you can also take advantage of Search Image With Google Lens, which is in the right-click menu.  This opens up a sidebar with key information and matches, so for example if you right-click on a photo of a dog it’ll tell you the breed and show other matching images. It’s quite similar to the Siri Knowledge you get in the iPhone 13 photos app, and of course it’s there in Google Photos on Android too. 

There’s more to Google Lens too. Lens.google.com also has OCR (optical character recognition) and translation tools that make it really useful when you encounter images with text you need to re-use, or that is in a language that you don’t know.

If you’d rather keep things old-school don’t worry: the old Google Image Search interface hasn’t gone away. All you need to do is click on Find Image Source and you’ll be taken to the familiar blue links and image results. 

I do hope this comes to Safari soon: it’s a real boon for anyone who spends a lot of time trying to track down specific images or identify where images came from. And using your own photos as a source often takes you down interesting rabbit holes via Google’s suggested matches.

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