The new feature works by stripping and analyzing characters in documents and other pictures. In order to do this Google has built-in optical character recognition. With the new feature in place, you can simply search for text in Photos App. According to 9to5Google the feature is available in some Android phones and is also being rolled slowly on iOS.
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
Venture Capitalist Hunter Walk was the first one to notice the new feature. He posted the screenshots on Twitter and Google responded as follows “Once you find the photo you’re looking for, click the Lens button to easily copy and paste the text. Take that, impossible wifi password.”
In 2017 Google I/O, Sunder Pichai had demonstrated a similar feature. He showed how you can simply point Lens at a router and the app will not just fetch screenshot of your password but will also login automatically. Off course, the demo intended to showcase Google’s AI prowess. Furthermore, Google already lets users search using photos of documents, signboard, and other items.
Google Photos has done us all a big favor by letting us search text in pictures. I have personally wasted hours to search a picture of my WiFi password or the picture of a signboard with contact details. Furthermore, the new search option will come in handy when we want to search a document with a particular text. The best thing is that Google lets us search across the entire photo library and not just individual pictures.