Either I have been hiding under a rock for the past few months or Google just placed a gem into the documents market. Placed above the menu of Documents was hidden a highlighted "New Features" section. The section was laden with new additions to Google Documents, including a curved line feature. But nothing stood out as much as the OCR feature. According to Google, one can upload a PDF file to the Google Documents section and have it converted into a Google Document that is ready for editing.
I tried this today and noticed a near flawless result, with preservation of layouts etc., from a relatively complicated PDF document. It was a poster on Psychiatry and it was reproduced flawlessly. To prove that it was a google document and not a picture, I was able to edit the document. I tried again, this time uploading a picture of a billboard with words on it. The picture was of a billboard and Google Docs translated the words (sans the picture of course) flawlessly.
Color me IMPRESSED ! Unfortunately I cannot upload the examples because the two documents have copyrights. But again, that may be an issue that Google may have to deal with some time in the future. I wonder if this was the same software that Google used in its book conversions?
You owe it to yourself to try this one out. It is truly brilliant.