Firefox Nightly users running the browser on a Mac may have come across a new “copy text from image” option when they enable the context menu for images.
Text recognition is a new feature that Mozilla plans to integrate into 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 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 text from image” option from the context menu.
Firefox displays an “image search for text” prompt, which it then replaces with the textual content it retrieved from the image.
Text recognition functionality is powered by the native Mac OS OCR feature, specifically the Mac OS VNRecognizeTextRequestRevision2 API. The feature is only available on Mac OS 10.15 or newer versions.
All text is automatically copied to the clipboard. From there, Firefox users can paste it into another app for further processing. Mozilla notes on its bug tracking site that users can select portions of text to copy to the clipboard or use the screen reader feature.
Windows and Linux users do not have access to the experimental feature at this time. Mozilla plans to bring text recognition functionality to Windows. The bug report suggests using the official Windows OCR APIs for this, which would make technical sense.
It’s unclear at this point if the feature will also come to Linux devices running Firefox.
Firefox users had to rely on browser extensions, like the excellent Project Naptha (discontinued), or programs that run on the operating system, such as Screen Translator, Capture2Text, or ShareX.
Support for text recognition is a welcome addition to Firefox. It helps users who rely on screen readers get better context when it comes to images and can speed up extracting text from images for others.
Now you: have you ever used text recognition tools?