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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Using machine learning to index text from billions of images

The last year and a half I've led a project to take the computer vision/deep learning OCR pipeline I built at Dropbox and automatically run it and several other advanced machine learning models on billions of images daily in Dropbox to extract text for search. This turned out to be one of the largest computational projects Dropbox has ever done. The feature went live yesterday.

We published a technical blog post with more technical details on the system:

In our previous blog posts, we talked about how we updated the Dropbox search engine to add intelligence into our users’ workflow, and how we built our optical character recognition (OCR) pipeline. One of the most impactful benefits that users will see from these changes is that users on Dropbox Professional and Dropbox Business Advanced and Enterprise plans can search for English text within images and PDFs using a system we’re describing as automatic image text recognition.

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