Google is making changes to Lens on desktop Chrome so that it doesn’t open in a separate tab and instead uses a side panel to keep you on the same page.

Instead of opening a new tab when you right-click on a picture, Search image with Google Lens will open a side panel. Since pressing the icon between Extensions and your profile picture will make it disappear, this is actually the same as the side panel that now houses your Reading List and Bookmarks. The primary window will adjust in size as necessary.

The display resembles the fullscreen experience ( lens.google.com/search ) in that the image occupies the majority of the panel. In place of the removed right-click menu, Find image source is displayed above to access Google Images Search results, and below, you can toggle between Search, Text, and Translate.

Results for a mobile-like UI are displayed below that. The top-right corner of Google Lens can be clicked to make it reopen in a new tab. This side panel also shows when you run Google Lens without having a specific image in mind and manually draw a box around what you’re looking for (Search Images with Google Lens).

Chrome Google Lens panel
Chrome Google Lens panel

With the exception of using Lens for visual look-up, all of this results in a less intrusive experience. The Text or Translate filters, which require going fullscreen since the source image is too small to be selected, do not really make sense with the tight UI otherwise.

We are now rolling out this functionality to all Chrome users as part of a larger initiative to make it easier for people to search for and access information in more intuitive and natural ways.

This Google Lens side panel has been available for a few weeks, but now Google officially launches it for Chrome on Mac, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS.

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