Google Photos is a very useful service from Google that lets you back up and store an unlimited number of photos for free. Now, new features are being added to Google Photos to make the service even more powerful.
Google is making its search feature in Google Photos, called Google Lens, even smarter. Google Lens is a powerful tool that can translate words in a photo so you can read signs, menus and other words in a foreign language. Google Lens can also search objects in photos so you can learn more about them.
Learn more at => Google Lens Identifies What’s in Photos — Now for Android and iPhone
Now, Google is making Google Lens even more useful by recognizing words that appear in images. Google Lens can then let you do things such as search your photos for those words and copy and paste words from a photo into an app, document, email, etc.
These new features work with photos you’ve taken using your camera, as well as screenshots.
Google Lens uses optical character recognition (OCR) to recognize objects in photos. OCR in Google Lens helps you learn more about what’s in a photo, and to search your photos using keywords, such as “Statue of Liberty.”
With these updates, Google Lens now can use OCR to identify words in your Google Photos library, so you can search to find photos that contain specific words. So, for example, you searched your Google Photos library for “dog” you could find photos of dogs and photos that have the word “dog” in the photo.
You can also copy words from photos in Google Photos and paste them into documents, notes or other apps.
An observant Google Photos user, @hunterwalk, noticed these updates and tweeted about his discovery:
Wow, @googlephotos has OCR to turn screenshots into copy/paste text!
A. Open google photos and select screenshot
B. Pick “Lens” feature [image 1]
C. Highlight text [image 2]
D. Pick copy/paste [image 2,3]
Nicely done Google team! pic.twitter.com/Um49ika2yT
— 👨🏻💻☕️ (@hunterwalk) August 21, 2019
Google Photos responded to the tweet, confirming the finding and revealing the new OCR features:
You spotted it! Starting this month, we’re rolling out the ability to search your photos by the text in them.
Once you find the photo you’re looking for, click the Lens button to easily copy and paste text. Take that, impossible wifi passwords 😏
— Google Photos (@googlephotos) August 22, 2019
Searching for Text in Photos
Using Google Lens in Google Photos, you can search for words that appear in photos in your library to find photos that have those words in them.
Using Google Lens you can now search for a photo that has a street sign in it, according to the name of the street. Or search photos that have the name of a landmark, store, or building in them.
Just type a word in the search box to search your Google Photo library for photos that contain that word.
Copying and Pasting Text in Photos
In addition to being able to search photos for words that appear in them, you can copy and paste words that appear in those photos. This could come in handy for taking photos of documents, books, articles and more.
In its tweet, Google gave the example of taking a photo of a password on a Wi-Fi router, then copying and pasting the password to log into the network. You can also do things such as take a photo of a recipe, then copy the ingredients to share with others or add to your shopping list.
To use copy and paste with Google Lens, open a photo in your Google Photos library, then tap on the Google Lens icon at the bottom of the screen. Google Lens will analyze the photo to detect what is in the photo. White dots will appear on the photo while Google Lens is doing its work. After the white dots have disappeared (usually just a few seconds) you can highlight the words you want to copy.
At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see options for what you can do with the words you’ve highlighted, including “copy text.”
Google will be rolling out these new features in the Google Photos app starting this month, first on Android and then on iPhone and iPad.
You can check to see if you have these features by opening a photo containing words in Google Photos, then using Google Lens to try to copy and paste the words in the photo. Or you can try searching for words in Google Photos, to see if you get search results containing those words in your photos.
These new features are available in my Google Photos app for both my iPhone and iPad.
Will you be using these new Google Lens features to search for text in photos? Will you find it handy to copy and paste text from photos using Google Lens? What would you use these new features for?
*Penny Lane Sign photo (edited) courtesy of Radarsmum67 via Flickr and Creative Commons