We have known for a long time that Google reads the text we have on our website (you would be surprised that this is not always common knowledge), but images have long been an area of pain for marketers. On the one hand, images convey valuable information to the user in a format that is easy for them to identify with. On the other hand, search engines like Google can’t index the information you have in your images, and must rely on title tags to identify the information. Until now!
Google has had the OCR technology for a while actually, using it to scan books and street signs. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and it is the method Google uses to scan your images and index the text. They are using this information for some cool applications, like the Google Translate app which allows you to scan a sign in a foreign language and translate it on the fly with an overlay!
This is good information to keep in mind while designing your graphics, since Google can now read the email addresses and phone numbers imbedded in your images.