Google Photos just got an Awesome Feature that makes it a Must-Have for Android, iPhone, and iPad Devices

This article isn’t about genealogy but it is about a new software tool that will be valuable for genealogists and for millions of others.

From an article by Chris Smith in the web site:

“Google Photos is easily one of the best apps you could have installed on your phone, especially if it’s an Android device, and especially a specific type of Android that comes with unlimited storage. Even if you prefer a different cloud or storage device for your photos, you should still consider getting the Google Photos app on your Android or iPhone right now, because the service is about to get a super convenient feature.

“That’s optical character recognition (OCR), a feature that allows Google to read the text in photos and turn it into text that you can search for, and even copy and paste into documents. That’s a handy feature to have on a phone, especially if you find yourself taking lots of photos of things that contain plenty of text that you’d want to be able to access later.”

Yes, take a picture of a sign or of a page in a book or of a document and Google Photos will automatically convert printed words inside the picture into computer-readable text.

Similar software that is to be installed in your computer has been available for years but at rather high prices. Now Google Photos will do the same thing for free and with no software installed in your computer. It works on Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, Linux, Android, IPad, iPhone, and other operating systems because all the software runs in the cloud.

You can read the details in Chris Smith’s article at:


Merde! I just bought ABBYY FineReader 14 for my computer, costing over CAD$210. However, Google Drive has had background OCR building its search indexes with content from image files and PDF image content for some years. But you couldn’t copy the OCR text from the file. You could open the file with Google Docs and it seemingly would do a fresh OCR to create the Doc. You could then review and edit the text in the Doc, separate from the original file. It cannot convert the image or PDF into a searchable PDF. Moreover, I found its word recognition accuracy wanting, albeit relatively high and it is quite poor at preserving format for anything other than linear text. That drove me into the PC apps such as FineReader, Iris, …


I have found that loading a picture into OneNote and using the copy text option from picture is actually a very effective OCR technique


Am I the only one that sees this as a huge security risk? Where will this information be stored? Who else has access?


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