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Does a Google search find images with the word being searched?

Hi,

When I used Google to locate documents on my client's website with the word (e.g.) "Vendor":

Unless I'm missing something, the returned results included a doc where "Vendor" is included in the screenshot of a menu (an image), but not the actual text...unless I'm missing something, not in the actual text. Unless you include the page tree on the sidebar. (This doc is in Confluence).

Is Google search now smart enough to extract (simple) text from images?

Thanks,
Steve
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Stephen Kairys
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Stephen Kairys
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4 Solutions
 
Wayne HerbertIT SpecialistCommented:
I suspect not... it's either using the ALT TEXT field and/or the image name, href, link, or some such to obtain a keyword.  But, that's my guess.
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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Wayne,
By ALT TEXT you mean the text within the sidebar?
Thanks.
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Wayne HerbertIT SpecialistCommented:
No, when an image is inserted into a website, the "alt" tag enables the web creator to add text to an image that is to be displayed.  This text is only displayed if the image itself cannot be displayed but is part of the HTML code.  Consider this webpage:

https://www.vendorpricebook.com/

That "Connecting Vendors and Retailers" has HTML code as shown below.  For this image, both the name and the text in the "alt" tag would have provided a 'vendor' keyword.

alt.png
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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Wayne.

Whew, didn't realize how late it was. Signing off for the day and week. Will give your response the time it deserves when I return next week.

Have a good weekend.

Steve
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Koen Van WielinkBusiness Intelligence SpecialistCommented:
Actually Google DOES search for images based on the words in your search term. While this was still somewhat experimental when I heard about it a year ago from one of Google's platinum suppliers it was already operational. Pretty sure it is capable of recognizing text inside an image without any tags.
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Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
the long and the short of it is, Google Image Search looks for the best match to the image you entered... but no OCR...
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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
@Wayne - thanks for the useful info.
@Koen - If Google pulled that off - very impressive.
@Paul - Pardon my ignorance: What is "OCR"? :)

Thanks!
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Koen Van WielinkBusiness Intelligence SpecialistCommented:
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It's a technology that allows documents that are stored as an image to be converted into readable text. For example a scanned PDF document or a business card. Once that's done you can edit it, index the text for search purposes, etc. But I don't think that the technique Google uses is based on that. For example, if you search for "Mount Fuji", it will return you images of that mountain not necessarily only because those images are tagged that way, but also because it knows from search history what that mountain looks like. Similar technology is used to for example recognize emotions in faces, specific objects in images, etc.
See Google's "Vision" API for more details.
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Koen Van WielinkBusiness Intelligence SpecialistCommented:
Here's another article that describes how it works.

Google Opens Its Cloud Vision API To All Developers

It also confirms it's being used in Google's image search
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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Koen. Great stuff! :)
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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks, everyone for this useful - and very interesting info!
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