Google is facing some serious issues when it comes to dealing with the governments of the United States and the European Union. It has been a bad year for Google that could lead to the company being broken up into smaller companies. While some may cheer that on there are benefits of what Google does and that comes from its ability to create and integrate new technology much easier. One of those is a cool new feature that Google unveiled earlier this month that lets users search and copy and paste text out of a picture.


Google’s Twitter account announced this new optical character recognition (OCR) technology. Users will have the ability to use the Lens feature in Google Photos to search for text in a photo. The Lens button will allow users to select that text and copy and paste it in another document. 

As of now the Lens feature works best with screenshots and for finding text in photos. It works on Google Photos on Android and iOS as well as the web app. The full feature utilizing OCR is being rolled out through other applications and for the full userbase. 

How Could This Be Useful?

There has probably been a time that you needed to get text out of a photo. It could be to get information off of a historical marker after a vacation or it could be to get information off of a receipt. There are plenty of other reasons. Now you don’t need to switch back and forth between the picture and your document, you can copy and paste it directly out of the picture. Thanks OCR!

Google has also demonstrated the Lens feature by taking wifi login information from a piece of paper and using it to log into a network. You know how long and complicated some of those wifi passwords are and sending a picture (or copying and pasting out of the picture to send) to a guest so they can just copy and paste the credentials is much easier then spelling it out for them.

Google already allows users to search the Internet using photos. It’s a great way to try to see whether all of those beautiful people that are sending friend requests on social media are really real people. OCR is the next evolution of web search technology that will very soon allow someone to search the web using their voice. It may be one day soon that we will no longer need to type something into a search field or that old photo that you just cannot figure out where it is can be entered in and its location determined. OCR is the first step in that process.

Five years ago did you think that this could have been possible? It is amazing what can be done and Google has been a major catalyst for many of the technological developments. Who knows what the next five years will bring?

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top