Optical character recognition, or OCR for short, is nothing new. We’ve had it for years, and aside from the occasional accuracy improvement, how we use it has mostly remained the same. We can identify text from photos, translate it, or use it to kick off a web search. Gboard, the default keyboard on many Android phones and tablets, is adding a handy new feature that takes advantage of OCR.

The latest update for Gboard on Android introduces a new feature called “Scan Text,” adding OCR capabilities to the keyboard app. This feature is designed to make extracting text from images more convenient. You can access Scan Text from the Gboard capabilities grid and easily drag it to the toolbar for quick access.

Upon granting Gboard the necessary camera permissions, you’ll be presented with a viewfinder occupying over half the screen. Tapping the designated button allows you to capture an image of the text you wish to scan. Gboard then highlights all detected text on the captured image, and from there, it’s as simple as selecting the portion of text you need and inserting it into the text field you want.

The feature also remains active even after text has been inserted, allowing you to continue selecting and inserting additional text as needed. You can also just return to the camera view again by tapping the back arrow or switch back to the full keyboard interface using the close button.

For most text, you probably won’t use this. It can be simpler to just manually type out something unless it’s really long. However, if the text is in a language or alphabet you don’t recognize (such as an Asian language), it might actually be easier to just trust OCR to copy and paste it.

The feature is apparently rolling out for some users now, but in my specific case, I’m still yet to see it in my phone. You might be luckier if you hit “Update” on the app right now, though, but it might take a few weeks (or months) before it reaches all phones and tablets. You can download Gboard from the Play Store if you don’t have it already.

Source: 9to5Google

Source link