Area 120 is a Google team that focuses on small, experimental applications. Its latest release is its most practical yet: Stack, a document scanner and organizer that automatically grabs details via optical character recognition. It's available in the Play Store now, though it might not be accessible from all regions. Read More
A couple of months ago, task manager Todoist received one of its biggest updates with the "Foundations" release, which added project sections, better subtask management, dynamic task addition, and more. The app's devs aren't taking the remainder of 2019 off, though, and keep releasing beta updates with new features. The latest beta is interesting to us for two reasons: auto dark theme on Android and a new, experimental OCR scanning option. Read More
Microsoft has been testing a new Office mobile app for Android since this spring, which combines Microsoft's mobile variants of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into one. The relatively new app gives you a convenient, cloud-synchronized central point for Microsoft Office document creation and management, plus scanning, notes, and more. It's an all-in-one, on-the-go Microsoft Office solution, and now it's available in public preview. Read More
A feature I've always wanted in Google Photos is text recognition. The service can parse through my pics to find a specific face, place, thing, or even more abstract concepts like "sunset" or "happy," it can even associate an emoji with images in my gallery, but it couldn't find simple pieces of text through OCR. Well, now it can. Read More
With the launch of the second developer preview of Android back in May, Google added a surprising and useful feature to the Overview interface. You could highlight and copy text and also make use of Android's smart text selection functionality. Optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities meant you could also pull text from images.
Even more interesting was that you could select and copy images in the same way, including those from apps that don't allow media to be shared (such as Instagram and Snapchat). Sadly, in DP4 this feature is no longer present. Read More
The Gboard team has unleashed a fresh beta of version 7.3. There's nothing immediately popping up as a brand new change or feature, but there is a lot to look at in the teardown. There are some big practical features coming, like OCR and improved handling for Battery Saver mode; but there are also some fun features like a text tool and new special effects for your custom GIFs. Read More
Everyone uses Google Maps, but not often do we consider where, exactly, all that data comes from. When a new road goes in, or a bypass, or the name of a street changes, it isn't as if your local city reaches out to Google to make sure everything is up to date. Some of that used to come from user submissions in the Map Maker forum. Now those tools are being rolled into Maps itself, but that's not the only source of information. Google's fleets of Street View cars collect an insane number of images, and nestled in with them are pictures of businesses, street signs, and addresses, and Google's latest research blog post goes into some interesting details about all that potential data. Read More
Google's Goggles is all but abandoned now. We've seen Google resurrect apps from the dead and update them after years of neglect, but it's hard to imagine the company putting a fresh coat of paint on Goggles at this point. If only because the app has been superseded by others from Google, with its functionality cut off into little pieces and moved to various places inside the ecosystem.
But that doesn't take away from the fascination and respect that Goggles deserves. It could recognize landmarks before Google Photos, read and translate text before Google Translate, use OCR on images before Now on Tap, and even solve sudoku puzzles, scan and add contacts from a business card, and find and suggest similar products — all options that have yet to be transplanted into any other Google app. Read More
Google Now on Tap sounded ridiculously cool when it was announced last year, but the reality of the feature has been lackluster to say the least. Google is apparently toying with a feature that could make it much more useful. Some users are seeing optical character recognition (OCR) as part of On Tap, but the implementation seems very early. Read More
Optical character recognition, also known as OCR, is really an amazing technology. If you aren't familiar, it takes images and reads the text on them. For PDFs, it can make the words it finds searchable, selectable, and whatever else you may want to do with them. The better implementations of OCR work well enough that they pretty much make CAPTCHAs pointless. And while Google Drive has offered this function in English for over a year now, it is now rolling it out to over 200 different languages.
Doing so is easy as pie. In Drive, just go to an image or PDF and open it with Google Docs, like you see above. Read More