August 07, 2023
Google Assistant is set to release the innovative “Search Screen” function, driven by Google Lens, first announced six months prior. This feature is now rolling out to Pixel gadgets equipped with Google app version 14.31. However, before explaining how to check your version or update the app, it’s important to note having the appropriate version does not automatically mean the feature will be immediately available.
Here’s what the “Search Screen” functionality entails. Prior to this update, switching on Google Assistant would potentially bring up a “Lens” button. Clicking this button processes the current content on your screen via Google Lens to perform an internet search. Google’s Lens uses a photo or live image from your device’s camera to search what’s displayed—it also translates signs, menus, and documents.
The latest update substitutes the “Lens” button with a “Search Screen” option. Any content on a Pixel’s display—barring the home screen—can be analyzed with Lens once the button is pressed. Reportedly, the “Search Screen” button is more dependable than its “Lens” predecessor, appearing more consistently when Assistant is invoked. This means users needn’t capture a screen and process it through Google Lens to seek information about their screen content.
However, even after updating my Pixel 6 Pro to the correct beta version of the Google app, the new feature did not manifest. But rest assured, this update is making its way to compatible Pixel devices.
To ascertain your Pixel’s Google app version, launch the app and tap on the profile picture in the top-right corner. Click Settings > About to discover your current version—ideally 14.31 or higher. If you’re running an outdated version, navigate to the Play Store, tap your profile picture in the top-right, and select Manage apps & devices.
Under “Updates available,” a blue “See details” link will appear. Look for Google in the list of apps requiring an update and tap “Update.” Follow the steps outlined above to verify the new build date. Remember, running the most recent Google app build doesn’t necessarily mean the “Search Screen” feature is readily available.