Mozilla plans to add Text Recognition support to Firefox
Firefox Nightly users who run the browser on a Mac may have stumbled upon a new "copy text from image" option when they activate the context menu of images.
Text recognition is a new feature that Mozilla plans to integrate in Firefox Stable. The main idea behind the feature is to add an option to Firefox to extract text content from images.
The feature is enabled by default in the latest Firefox Nightly version for Apple Mac devices. All users have to do is to right-click on any image that is displayed in Firefox and select the "copy text from image" option of the context menu.
Firefox displays a "searching image for text" prompt, which it then replaces with the text content that it retrieved from the image.
The text recognition functionality is powered by Mac OS' native OCR feature, in particular the Mac OS API VNRecognizeTextRequestRevision2. The feature is only available on Mac OS 10.15 or newer versions.
All text is copied to the Clipboard automatically. From there, Firefox users may paste it into another application for further processing. Mozilla notes on its bug tracking site that users may select parts of the text to either copy it to the Clipboard or use screen reading functionality.
Windows and Linux users do not get access to the experimental feature at this stage. Mozilla has plans to bring the text recognition feature to Windows. The bug report suggests using the official Windows OCR APIs for that, which would make sense from an engineering point of view.
It is unclear at this point whether the functionality will also arrive on Linux-powered devices that run Firefox.
Text recognition support is a welcome addition to Firefox. It helps users who rely on screen readers to get better context when it comes to images, and may speed up the extraction of text from images for others.
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