Google Lens will be used by Chrome’s ‘Search Companion’ to bring context to the web

Google is working on a Chrome “Search Companion” as a new method to search the web that will use Lens to provide additional context about the current page. Right-clicking a picture and selecting “Search Image with Google” is a terrific approach to gaining more information while exploring the web in Chrome. With Google Lens, you can generally find out what you’re looking at quickly and acquire additional resources for learning more.

With a new tool named “Search Companion,” Google hopes to strengthen the relationship between Lens and Chrome. When you open the Search Companion, which will live in Chrome’s newly introduced sidebar menu, the browser will start passing information about the current page to the companion.

Chrome is now concerned with the web page’s title and visible images, as well as the current set of “trending searches” that Chrome’s address bar can display. Based on a “staging URL” detected in code, the Search Companion feature then sends all of this information to a web app that is set to be part of Google Lens.

We were able to enable an early peek of Search Companion, which simply displays the data that would typically be transmitted. While we don’t know how Google Lens will use this data, the moniker “Search Companion” implies that it will use what’s on your screen to comprehend the context of your next search.

One possible scenario is being on the Google Pixel 7 product page, opening the companion, and simply searching for “offers.” The tool will know you’re looking for the Pixel 7 based on the website title, and it may even know the color you’re looking for based on the images on the screen.

In some ways, Chrome Search Companion is similar to Google Lens’s “Multisearch” feature, which allows you to mix an image and words to narrow down your search results. In the previous example, you may start by looking for an image of a dress, then add the term “green” to find similar apparel in a different hue.

With Google’s “Bard” chatbot on the horizon and a broader push within the firm for AI-powered products, one may expect this Chrome Search Companion to be built on AI tools as well. Multisearch in Google Lens, on the other hand, is not built with the company’s “MUM” (Multitask Unified Model) technology. That being said, it’s possible that Chrome Search Companion will be built on traditional technology as well, but we won’t know for sure until it’s released.

On that note, given that development has been happening since at least November 2022, and that the functionality is expected to be available soon at chrome:/flags, we predict Chrome Search Companion could be released as part of Google I/O in May. In the meanwhile, we’ll keep an eye on the functionality as it evolves.

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