Google has added a very useful feature to Google Lens, its multi-purpose object recognition tool. With Lens, you can now copy and paste handwritten notes from your phone to your computer. However, this only works if your handwriting is neat enough.
To use the new function, you need the latest version of Google Chrome and the standalone Google Lens app for Android or the Google app for iOS (which you can access using a button next to the search bar). You must also be signed in to the same Google Account on both devices.
Just point your camera at handwritten text, select it on the screen and select Copy. You can then go to any document in Google Docs, click Edit, and then Paste to paste the text. And voila – or viola, depending on the handwriting.
Copy and paste with Google Lens.
In our tests, the feature was a hit or miss. If you don't write properly, you will definitely get some typing errors. But it's still a cool feature that is especially useful when a lot of people are now working from home and relying on endless to-do lists to get a sense of order in their day.
In addition to the new copy and paste function, Google is also introducing a pronunciation tool. Simply highlight a word in Lens and tap "Listen" to hear how it is pronounced. (This is now available in Android and will be available for iOS shortly.) You can now look up concepts with Lens and search for phrases such as "gravitational waves" to get inline Google search results. This may come in handy when you are doing homework or helping your children with theirs.
These are welcome additions to Google Lens, which has always promised more than it actually delivered. Having a visual search tool that can help you identify everything you have in front of your phone is Lens's dream, but it has never been quick or reliable enough to make it happen. These latest updates are definitely going in the right direction.