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Gboard is gaining the ability to copy text from the real world

This is a quicker way to copy text than using Google Lens.

Published onFebruary 22, 2024

Gboard Scan Text feature image
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
  • Gboard now offers a Scan Text feature, allowing you to copy text from the real world.
  • This is effectively a stripped-back version of Google Lens’s optical character recognition smarts.
  • Gboard’s solution lets you seamlessly insert the copied text into your current text field.

Google Lens is one of the more useful apps on a smartphone, using your mobile camera for text recognition, object searches, and more. Now, one of the best Lens features is coming to Gboard.

9to5Google reports that Google is now bringing a so-called Scan Text feature to Gboard. We can indeed confirm seeing this feature in the beta version of Gboard.

This is pretty much just a stripped-down version of Google Lens’s optical character recognition (OCR) functionality. Nevertheless, you can find it by tapping the tools menu in Gboard (the first icon on the left, above the keyboard), and either selecting it or dragging it into the Gboard toolbar as a shortcut.

Once you’ve activated the feature, Gboard will ask for your camera permission (see the second image in the gallery above). The camera viewfinder will then occupy the bottom half of your screen. From here, you can simply take a photo of text, highlight the desired text you wish to grab, and tap “insert” to add it to your current text field.

It’s worth noting that this Scan Text feature doesn’t offer other text-related Google Lens features like web searches or translation functionality. But this is still a great way to copy/paste real-world text as the need arises — no need to add it to your clipboard first.

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