Information Week has reported that in June of 07 Google filed a patent application, which has just become available, outlining a “method of optical character recognition in digital images.” The application seems to cover both static images as well as video. The ability to do this could radically change a number of existing Google services as well as again change the way the Internet marketing world interacts with images and video.
Being able to identify text in images and video would be an extremely large leap in search engine indexing technology. Being able to index the content of videos and other new social media would most likely either force a change in the way search engines have to build their SERPs or provide opportunities to build highly relevant image and video search functions that could generate significant relevancy from the text content within the media.
Clearly this would not be a complete solution for new service development, as many images and video do not contain text to index. Still as Duncan Riley at TechCrunch summed up nicely what I was thinking when I read Information Weeks coverage of this patent:
This will make every book in the Google Books database really searchable, with the next step being YouTube, Flickr (or Picasa Web) and more. The search capabilities of the future just became seriously advanced.