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Gboard for Android to Soon Integrate Convenient OCR Scan Text Feature, Eliminating the Need for Lens

Google is currently testing a new feature in the latest beta version of Gboard for Android. This feature allows users to scan text using optical character recognition (OCR) directly within the keyboard app. Previously, users had to rely on Google Lens in the Camera app or the search bar on Pixel devices to access this feature.

The “Scan text” feature is currently only available in the latest beta version of Gboard (13.06.04) and is not yet accessible to all beta users by default. However, initial reports suggest that the OCR quality and accuracy of this feature are on par with other Google products.

To use the “Scan text” feature, users need to first grant Gboard the camera permission. Once granted, they can open the Gboard keyboard and tap on the new “Scan text” tile. Users can then take a photo of the text they want to scan, and Gboard will highlight the recognized text. The selected text can be easily inserted into the desired input field.

The “Scan text” feature is located alongside the Translate and Proofread features in the Gboard toolbar. When the “Scan text” tile is tapped, a viewfinder square appears at the bottom half of the screen. Users can capture a photo of the text within this viewfinder square.

After processing the photo, Gboard will highlight the recognized text. Users can select an entire line of text or adjust the selection area as needed. Once the selection is finalized, tapping the “Insert” button will insert the text into the input field.

One convenient aspect of this feature is that the “Scan text” tool remains on the screen even after inserting text, allowing users to quickly make another selection. This makes the process faster and more efficient compared to opening Google Lens, particularly if the “Scan text” tile is placed in the shortcuts row of the keyboard.

Overall, the addition of the “Scan text” feature to Gboard is a welcome development. It provides users with an integrated OCR solution directly within the keyboard, making it easier to scan and insert text while multitasking.

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