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12 ways Google Lens can make you more productive on Android

12 ways Google Lens can make you more productive on Android

Psst: Come close. Your Android phone has a little-known superpower — a futuristic system for bridging the physical world around you and the digital universe on your device. It’s one of Google’s best kept secrets. And it can save you tons of time and effort. It’s a little somethin’ called Google Lens, and it’s been

Psst: Come close. Your Android phone has a little-known superpower — a futuristic system for bridging the physical world around you and the digital universe on your device. It’s one of Google’s best kept secrets. And it can save you tons of time and effort.

It’s a little somethin’ called Google Lens, and it’s been lurking around on Android and quietly getting more and more capable for years. Google curiously doesn’t make a big deal about it, and you’d really have to go out of your way to even realize it exists. But once you uncover it, well, you’ll feel like you have a magic wand in your pocket.

At its core, Google Lens is best described as a search engine for the real world. It uses artificial intelligence to identify text and objects both within images and in a live view from your phone’s camera, and it then lets you learn about and interact with those elements in all sorts of interesting ways. But while Lens’s ability to, say, identify a flower, look up a book, or give you info about a landmark is certainly impressive, it’s the system’s more mundane-seeming productivity powers that are far more likely to find a place in your daily life.

So grab the nearest Android gadget, go install the Google Lens app, if you haven’t already, and get ready to teach your phone some spectacularly useful new tricks.

Google Lens trick #1: Copy text from the real world

Google Lens’s most potent power and the one I rely on most frequently is its ability to grab text from a physical document — a paper, a book, a whiteboard, or anything else with words on it — and then copy that text onto your phone’s clipboard. From there, you can easily paste the text into a Google Doc, a note, an email, a Slack chat, or anywhere else imaginable.

To do that, just open up the Google Lens app, tap the document icon, and aim your phone at the document. Within about a second, you’ll see Lens highlight the text.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Susan E. Lopez
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