Android’s recents panel adds helpful translate suggestions on Pixel phones
Google appears to be rolling out a translate button in the recent apps panel on Pixel devices, making it easy to quickly translate text. The button has appeared for some on the latest Android 12 Developer Preview, although it’s likely this feature isn’t actually tied to Android 12 but rather a server-side flag set by either the Device Personalization Services app or the Pixel Launcher itself.
Android Police was first to spot the translate feature rolling out in the recent apps 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 hinted at in the December 2020 Pixel Feature Drop, but it has been missing in action despite being mentioned in the changelog. That’s why we aren’t entirely sure if this is part of Google’s plans for Android 12 or simply a coincidence that it’s going live for some while they’re running Android 12.
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.