New SkyDrive Optical Character Recognition technology lets Windows 8.1 users search photos from text within images. The functionality, powered by Bing, is pretty slick, it comes enable by default on every Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone devices and basically all you have to do is to save your images to the Camera Roll folder, once they get uploaded to SkyDrive, the OCR engine kicks in, extracts all the text within a photo, and stores it as metadata in the file, which then becomes searchable, eliminating the need of naming a photo or adding extra tagging.
If you think about it, this is a pretty useful feature, how many times we take pictures of business cards, receipts, food recipes, etc., and then they’re just really hard to find, because we didn’t name or tag any of the photos. Now if you just remember a keyword, you’ll be able to find the card a lot quicker.
Another point worth mentioning is that by using SkyDrive, photos become searchable globally on all your Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone devices. What I mean by this is that if you take a picture of business card with your phone, you can do a search on your desktop computer and the photo will just show up.
The only downside, though, is that this feature only works for photos store in the Camera Roll folder and not globally in the device. I can see such a functionality expanding to every folder in the operating system, but I guess this will have to do it for now. A workaround, of course, is to manually add photos or other type of images to the folder.
Microsoft has worked on this feature for quite sometime and now it’s available to all users around the work with a SkyDrive account.
Source SkyDrive Blog