How-to: Google Docs OCR

Update May 1, 2015: (a9t9) launched its very own free and open-source Online OCR service - try it out and let us know how it compares.

How to convert an image or (an image inside a) PDF into text using Google’s free OCR converter. They confusing part is: There is no button, no checkbox and no mentioning of OCR in the Google Docs of 2015. So if you cannot find it, it is not you being stupid…

Google OCR works indirectly by automatically scanning and converting images to text – but only if Google Docs “thinks” there is text in an image. In other words: If there is no text that Google can recognize – nothing happens. But now…. step by step:

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Online OCR and OCR API hickups

Our Online OCR and OCR API service is in beta testing. Today we discovered that it has issues with certain PDF files since the last system update. These might bring the system to a stop until the OCR processor is restarted.

As of now, everything works again, but as the core issue is _not_ resolved yet, further intermittent downtimes are likely. But we will fix the core issue asap. Watch this space for updates.
Update Sep 15: All fixed, happy OCR’ing!

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