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22 June 2020

The Google Lens app and its related integrated camera features in the Android operating system has provided significant benefits to people who are blind or vision impaired due to its ability to analyse photos and provide contextual image descriptions. Now a new update is adding functionality related to the reading out of handwritten text in images and sending that data to different devices.

The new update, announced in May and now rolling out, provides additional text functionality with the ability to  scan handwriting or digital text and paste it into Chrome on a computer along with support for multiple languages being read out loud through a ‘listen’ audio playback mode.

The ability to extract text from images provides significant benefits to people who are blind or vision impaired as it moves the text from an inaccessible image to text that can be read by a screen reader. The addition of being able to move that text to another device such as a computer further enhances the ability for the text to be used.

In addition, the new language feature builds on the existing abilities of Lens. Prior to the update it could extract the text of 100 languages, but now with the Listen audio playback feature the language can be heard with its correct pronunciation.

The update further enhances Lens as a useful free tool that can quickly and easily provide information about a particular location and any text within it simply by taking a photo.

The update is currently rolling out to Android devices with the iPhone update to follow soon.