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Android phones just got a big photos upgrade — what you need to know

Google Photos
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Thanks to improvements to its Android interface, Google Lens is now more prominent, visible and easier to use in tandem with Google Photos. Rolling out on version 5.33 of the application, Google Lens now plays a more proactive role in Google Photos by determining what photos would benefit from the Lens analysis tool.

It feels like only yesterday that Google added Google Lens to its Photos app. Likened to a search engine for the real world, the Google Lens tool is a nifty way to extract relevant information from your Google Photos.

The new tool boosts the information that can be gleaned from the viewing of a single item in the Google Photos app after tapping the Lens icon, and when a user scrolls down to the expandable information window.

With the improved interface, there is a new "Search inside this photo" section below the date, which will only emerge and appear on the screen if Google analyzes the image and thinks Google Lens would be valuable to use with the photo. 

This works well in several scenarios, not least if the image contains text, where Google Lens highlights it in blue, as before. Once a user taps on the highlighted text, it can now copy it to another app, translate it, listen aloud, or search the text — all of which are actioned simply by tapping the icons to launch Google Lens.

These aren’t completely fresh additions to the Google Lens app; Google has fine-tuned the interface to make Lens’ features more readily available to launch through helpful icons at the bottom of the Google Photos app.

Google Lens is a great tool of convenience for optical character recognition (OCR) across a variety of the best Android phones; the newly improved interface is another step in Google’s bid to widen Lens' offering, following increased integration in Camera and Search. 

Google's tweaking of the tool makes it more top-of-mind, so users know that it's readily available to use and at their disposal in Google Photos. 

MORE: How to use Google Photos

Luke Wilson

Luke is a Trainee News Writer at T3 and contributor to Tom's Guide, having graduated from the DMU/Channel 4 Journalism School with an MA in Investigative Journalism. Before switching careers, he worked for Mindshare WW. When not indoors messing around with gadgets, he's a disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors.