Google appears to finally be adding a translate button in the recents panel on Android, making it easy to quickly translate text. The button has appeared in the latest Android 12 Developer Preview, although it’s unclear if this feature is actually tied to Android 12 and not just Device Personalization Services and/or the Pixel Launcher.
Android Police was first to spot the translate feature in the recents panel.
“If there’s some information on your screen that’s in a language you don’t understand, you can quickly translate it from the overview/recents screen (swipe up from the bottom and hold),” Android Police said. “A small button will appear with a Lens icon that reads ‘Translate.’”
Images via Android Police
This feature was actually expected to appear in the December 2020 Pixel Feature Drop, but it has been missing in action despite being mentioned in the original changelog. That’s why we mentioned we weren’t sure if this was part of the Android 12 Developer Preview or simply a coincidence since it was hinted at already. We’re not sure why it would only be appearing in the latest Android 12 Developer Preview.
Regardless, it’s a useful feature that will help users quickly translate websites and other documents. Android Police notes that Google may have flipped a server-side switch for a limited number of people, which is why we’re suddenly seeing it now. The website wasn’t able to duplicate the feature on other devices running Android 11 or 12.
When the December 2020 Pixel Feature Drop landed, Google said the contextual translation feature would work with the Pixel 3 and later, so it should work for plenty of people. The implementation of the translate feature will hopefully be the start of more Lens-related features to appear contextually throughout Android. Recently, Google Photos received deeper Google Lens integration, allowing users to easily copy text, search, and more right from the Photos app.
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