Recap: Google Photos arrived in mid-2015 as a photo backup service that relies heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning. As of last month, the service passed the one billion user mark, making it the ninth Google product to do so alongside Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Search, the Google Play Store and YouTube.

The search function in Google Photos is already a powerful tool in the hunt for specific images but now, it’s even more versatile.

Starting this month, Google is rolling out the ability to search for photos based on the text within them. The wizardry is driven by a powerful optical character recognition filter that scans for and pulls text from images. It reportedly works well on all sorts of images including screenshots, photos of books and even text you’d see in the real world, like a stop sign or a public Wi-Fi password.


Best yet, when you find the photo you’re looking for, you can click the Lens button to easily copy and paste said text for use elsewhere. Again, for public Wi-Fi passwords and other confusing strings of characters, this could be incredibly handy.

It works in the Android and iOS apps as well as on the web client, we’re told.

The text search feature is actively rolling out and is already available on several devices. If it’s not yet available on your device, hang tight and give it some time.

Masthead credit: Google Photos app by BigTunaOnline