Firefox Nightly users using the browser on a Mac may have encountered a new “copy text from image” option when activating the image context menu.
Text recognition is a new feature that Mozilla plans to integrate into Firefox Stable. The main idea of the feature is to add an option to Firefox to extract text content from images.
The feature is enabled by default in the latest version of Firefox Nightly for Apple Mac devices. All users have to do is right-click on any image displayed in Firefox and select the “copy image text” option from the context menu.
Firefox displays a “search for image by text” prompt, which it then replaces with the text content it retrieved from the image.
The text recognition functionality is powered by the native Mac OS OCR functionality, specifically the Mac OS API VNRecognizeTextRequestRevision2. The feature is only available on Mac OS 10.15 or later.
All text is automatically copied to the clipboard. From there, Firefox users can paste it into another application for further processing. Mozilla notes on its bug tracking site that users can select parts of the text to copy to the clipboard or use the screen reader functionality.
Windows and Linux users do not have access to the experimental feature at this stage. Mozilla plans to bring the text recognition feature to Windows. The bug report suggests using the official Windows OCR APIs for this, which would make sense from an engineering standpoint.
It’s unclear at this time if the functionality will also come to Linux-based devices running Firefox.
Firefox users had to rely on browser extensions, such as the excellent Project Naptha (discontinued), or programs that ran on the operating system, such as Screen Translator, Capture2Text, or ShareX.
Text recognition support is a welcome addition to Firefox. It helps users who rely on screen readers get better context when dealing with images, and can speed up text extraction from images for others.
Now you: Have you used text recognition tools in the past?
Name of the item
Mozilla plans to add text recognition support to Firefox
Mozilla is testing a text recognition feature, also known as OCR, in Firefox Nightly builds on Mac OS devices.
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