Google Lens is one of the company’s most useful and impressive tools: With it, you can scan objects in the world around you to learn more about anything from plants to pets, as well as lift text right out of an image. However, as it turns out, there’s a quick and convenient method to scanning with Google Lens that many Pixel owners simply aren’t taking advantage of.
How do you use Google Lens? If you’re like most of us, you probably take a photo, open Photos, then use Lens in the app to scan the image. Maybe you use the Google Lens app itself, or the lens icon in the Google app or on your home screen. Google made sure there were plenty of ways to use Lens, on both Android and iPhone, so that as many people as possible could find and use the feature.
However, none of these methods are as convenient or quick as the one you likely didn’t know about (I sure didn’t know). Instead of taking a photo, then going to the Photos app to scan it, you can scan your subject directly in the Camera app. With the Camera app open, all you need to do is long-press on the display, and Google Lens will begin scanning your subject. This ability isn’t anything new either. For some reason, the shortcut has just flown under the Android radar — I learned about the trick thanks to a Reddit post.
Now, this method isn’t the only hidden way to use Google Lens: If you have an image open in one of your previously used apps, you can use this same trick to scan it from the App Switcher. Swipe up to activate the switcher, navigate to the app preview with the image in it, then long-press on the preview to see the option to scan the image with Google Lens.