When Everybody Wins

Gotta love when everybody wins.  I finally got around to trying the optical character recognition (OCR) engine recently built into Google Docs, and I have to say, I am pretty impressed.  It’s not perfect, but its GOOD ENOUGH to turn the text in any scan or PDF or photo into editable text.  Some editing and clean-up is required, but it beats re-typing the whole document.

Little miracles like this always make me stand back and contemplate the forces that conspired to bring them to me.  In this case we can thank one of the more powerful forces in the universe: the beneficial alignment of interests.

Google wants you to move your entire life onto their system, so they have spent a lot of money making it as easy as possible to do that.

They have built a pretty nice email system with Gmail (including the addition of one thoughtful little feature, spam control, for which they spent a cool $625M on our behalf).  And they have worked pretty steadily for several years now to make cloud-based storage and collaboration on documents on Google Docs as easy as possible.  Adding OCR is an example of that.  They want all our docs, and it makes a lot more sense for them to go get some good OCR functionality than to wait for everybody else to go get their own and upload the results to Google Docs.

And the best part for them?  You have to upload your doc to their system to use it.  You don’t have to do anything with it, and you can take it down as soon as you are done, but at least you got a chance to try it and see how painless the experience is.  Powerful.  When interests align, everybody wins.

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