Bing and SkyDrive get even closer in Windows 8.1, searches your Camera Roll using OCR



In an official Microsoft blog post today, the devices and services giant has revealed that SkyDrive and Bing search have an even closer relationship on the new Windows 8.1 operating system. In essence, Bing’s Smart Search in Windows 8.1 can now search through your Camera Roll photos which had text extracted from them using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

“For example, you might have taken a photo 6 months ago of the menu of your favorite restaurant, but can’t remember where it’s buried in your Camera Roll and want to remember the dish you had. You can simply type in the restaurant name on your desktop and Bing Smart Search will search text of your Camera Roll photos and pull up the picture of the menu with the restaurant name printed on it,” Microsoft explained.

OCR is a smart technology where it extracts text from the photos in your camera roll when you upload and view them on Thanks to this new technology, just take a picture, upload it to your SkyDrive, and then it will automatically extract the text. All you have to do now is view it on and the extracted text will be shown in the Properties pane.

SkyDrive already makes it easy to save bandwidth and storage space by utilizing “smart files.” For those that didn’t know, smart files take up a fraction of the space as the original file. These files seem like normal folders and files, but take up very little space and will appear on-demand once you need them. Microsoft has learned that those who use smart files take up 80% less storage space that those who do not use smart files. 

“People are starting to take photos not only to capture special moments, but also to keep track of everyday information, so we are really excited about this scenario and proud to unveil this valuable OCR search feature,” Microsoft adds.

Check out the video below showcasing how Bing, SkyDrive, and Windows 8.1 all come together when it comes to OCR search. This feature is rolling out over the next few weeks.