Google Docs can perform OCR on digital images. You can upload an image containing printed text (like a fax document or a scanned newspaper clipping) to your Google Docs account and it will turn that image into digital text that you can copy and search.

Also see: The Best Online OCR Software

In the following example, Google Docs successfully extracted all the text from a scanned book page and converted it into an editable document.

google docs ocr

The OCR feature can also extract text from noisy images as well though the recognized text is not very accurate and the document formatting is lost.

If you are a developer, you can add the ocr=true parameter to your upload request and Google Docs will automatically scan that image for text patterns. You can also upload images to Google Docs without the OCR parameter but in that case, the image will be converted into a new Word document sans OCR.

Like Google Docs, Google Search too includes OCR features but the difference is that while Google Docs can extract text from images, the OCR in Google Search works only with scanned PDF files.