I was thinking recently how to speed up in an intelligent way the creation of image maps with my online utility. Often users try to map images like this:

The user will select “Home” and try to map it, giving it an url, adding an alt attribute. Now what if we could prefill the alt attribute with the text “Home”? Optical character recognition (OCR) in javascript? Wow, that would rock!
Well, technically we can access pixel data with the advent of the canvas element, but since OCR is a processor heavy operation, as i see today (better to say as Google sees it), noone wasted the time to write a javascript based OCR yet. :)
Now what if we use some server-backed online service?
Technically speaking again, it is possible to crop one part of the image, get the image data, post it to the online OCR, and parse the result. Unfortunately these online services didnt produce too good results with the test image above. I know, it is noisy jpg and too small, but still, it is a real life example.

Anyway, here comes the list of online OCR services that i found, in order from best to worst, result of the process in brackets:

This is an archive post. It represents a point of view in the past. Facts might have changed, events might be interpreted differently as of today. Links might be broken.