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(Pocket-lint) - Google offers a powerful image recognition feature called Google Lens. Pocket-lint has a separate Google Lens tutorial explaining how the feature works and what it can do in general, but in this guide, we'll walk you through how you can get started using it right now specifically in the Chrome web browser on your laptop or desktop computer and why you should try it. 

Why should you try Google Lens?

Starting off with the why before we get into how, just know that you can use Google Lens to search any online image and identify whatever is pictured - anything from buildings and animals to clothes, plants, and art. 

On laptops and desktops, Lens in Chrome gives you the option to search an image, find its source, see visual matches, get the text or a translation, and more. It's an alternative, more visual way to learn extra detail about an image. For example, you can use a picture of headphones to search for more information about where to buy them, browse images with visually similar headphones, or find where the image is used elsewhere.

How Google Lens works in Chrome on desktop

When Google Lens first came to Chrome for laptops and desktops, if you went to use it on an image on a website, your browser would open a page of results in a new tab. In May 2022, Google updated the feature so it would instead show results in a more modern-looking panel that opens to the right of the page/image you're viewing. Only when you want to find an image's source will Chrome open a new browser tab. But you can also expand the experience so that it opens up in a new tab if you prefer. By default, it will be a panel to the right of your screen.

How to use Google Lens in Chrome on desktop

Google Lens can help you learn more about any image on the internet. It has long been available on mobile, accessible through Google's mobile apps on iOS devices or the native camera app on some Android phones. In 2021, Google Lens came to laptop and desktop users through the Chrome web browser - where it can be accessed by right-clicking on any online image and then selecting "Search Image with Google Lens".

Before you start: Google said to set Google as your default search engine and to update to the latest version of Chrome.

  1. Open a page in Chrome.
  2. Right-click on an image.
  3. In the menu, choose Search image with Google Lens.
  4. Search results display on the right side of your screen.

You can click the expand button in the corner to open results in a new tab.

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Note: If you right-click anywhere outside an image, from the menu, you can choose 'Search images with Google Lens' After you click this option, you can drag to select an image.

Want to know more?

Google offers a Google Lens support page here detailing how to use the feature in the Chrome web browser for laptops and desktops.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.