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Google Photos just got an awesome feature that makes it a must-have Android and iPhone app

Updated Aug 24th, 2019 2:32PM EDT
Google Photos Features
Image: Alastair Grant/AP/Shutterstock

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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. You know, like that secure, but very complex password of your home Wi-Fi. There are other ways of saving that password, of course, but who hasn’t taken a photo of a Wi-Fi password at least once in their lifetime?

Pulling text out of screenshots you’ve saved at some point on your phone is one other great example of what OCR tech can do for you. Being able to find that screenshot by search is also going to be a lot easier than browsing your photo gallery.

According to 9to5Google, it’s the OCR feature that already exists in Google Lens powering the new feature. Google Lens is an AR app that delivers more information based on the visual data it captures from your surroundings. And now you’ll be able to search Google Photos for text by text using the OCR feature, and then copy and paste the information you needed.

Google quietly confirmed the feature on Twitter, saying it’s rolling out to Photos users this month the ability to search photos by text.

The new Photos feature will roll out to Android first but should be available on iPhone and the web as well.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.