Google Photos already features handy automatic tagging features that let you find every picture you’ve ever taken of, say, a dog or flower with one simple search. But now, after some eagle-eyed users spotted a new feature, Google has confirmed that Photos is getting the ability to search for photos based on text captured in the picture.
On Twitter, the official Google Photos account announced that its new text searching feature will start rolling out this month, with some lucky users already having access to this ability today.
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
The addition of text search to Google Photos on its own is a pretty sweet upgrade, but when combined with Google Lens, things get even better.
That’s because after searching for text in Photos, you can press the Google Lens button to copy text from inside a picture and then paste it into another app, which is something that would be super handy when you’re trying to enter in one of those super long Wi-Fi passwords you often find on the back of a router.
The way the new Google Photos features works is that after your pics are uploaded to the cloud, Google uses OCR (on-screen character recognition) to scan your photos and then tag them with the related text.
Then, the next time you’re looking for a picture of a receipt, you could simply search for the name of the business the receipt came from or the name of the item instead of scrolling through hundreds or thousands of photos.
Wow, @googlephotos has OCR to turn screenshots into copy/paste text!
A. Open google photos and select screenshot
B. Pick “Lens” feature
C. Highlight text
D. Pick copy/paste
Nicely done Google team! pic.twitter.com/Um49ika2yT
— ????????????☕️ (@hunterwalk) August 21, 2019
That’s it, pretty simple. Though if you’re like me and haven’t gotten the new update quite yet, the only thing you can do now is wait until Google pushes the new version of Photos to your phone sometime in the new few weeks.