Desktop Chrome Is Getting Screenshot, Editor & Google Lens Features

Chrome Android DG AH 2020

Google is now preparing an update that will give the desktop Chrome browser a similar screenshot and photo editor feature to Android. And that will also be getting a new way to use the AI-vision tool Google Lens. That’s based on recent reports detailing several changes making their way through the Chromium Gerrit.

Of course, the headlining feature here is the ability to capture a screenshot directly in desktop Chrome. Android recently received a similar functionality that steps away from the built-in OS-level tool. And that, like this new one for PCs and laptops, came with its own editor tool.

As described in the underlying code, the feature points to a new experimental flag setting in the works — “Enables taking screenshots from the desktop sharing hub.”


How will the screenshot tool and others work on Chrome desktop?

In short, that means users will be able to access the new screenshot tool directly from the sharing menu on desktop platforms. Initially, the options will be fairly limited. Users will be given the option to download, edit, or share images once captured as a screenshot. The system will also automatically send the image to the clipboard. And these won’t be scrolling screenshots to start either. Only the portion of the screen that’s currently visible when the screenshot is taken will be captured.

The editor, however, won’t necessarily be quite so locked down. In fact, the discovery points to a full-blown PWA for image editing. And that could ultimately lead to a much broader set of features. Especially since PWAs are meant to work just like native desktop apps.

Finally, there’s additional code that points to integration with Google Lens. Or, more accurately, the added ability to right-click and send an image to Google Lens. From there, Google will reportedly expand the tool to include the ability to search a region of a page using Lens via click-and-drag actions.


When is all of this coming?

Now, there’s no direct implication as to when the new features will make their initial appearance on desktop Chrome. This is still early in development and, with the new feature only just making the feature-freeze cut-off date of July 29 for Chrome 94, that’s the earliest version it’s likely to appear in. Although it may be pushed back even longer, depending on any number of factors.