Google Photos now allows you to search for text in your pics

Google Photos
(Image credit: Google)

The search functionality in Google Photos is already a powerful tool, allowing you to find certain objects, locations, pets, events or even people within your snaps thanks to some clever AI, but it’s now been made even smarter.

Utilizing the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tech found in Google Lens, you can now search for text from within Google Photos. Once it finds any images that contain that text, you’re able to use Lens to select and copy it in order to paste it elsewhere.

Google Photos OCR

(Image credit: TechRadar)

While it’s especially good at finding text within screenshots and other obviously-aligned words, it can also work wonders with non-standard fonts that are skewed and distorted, which is rather impressive.

The feature was confirmed by Google Photos itself on Twitter after being initially spotted by users @can and @hunterwalk.

As mentioned in the tweet, the feature is rolling out “starting this month”, and in the TechRadar office, both Android and web users found that they had received the feature – although its success varied across different devices – and there was no sign of it on iOS.

The implication of this is that Google Photos is automatically applying the OCR tech to all of your images, and possibly storing the metadata about the text contained within the photo in some way, although we’ll need to hear more from Google directly to confirm how this feature fully operates.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.