Google's new PhotoScan app makes it easy to bring your prints into the digital world
Available now for Android and iOSBy Shawn Knight
It's only Tuesday but Google has just released what might be your new go-to app for Throwback Thursdays.
PhotoScan for Android and iOS is designed to help you bring all of those prints in your old photo albums into the digital world in a fast and convenient way.
To use it, simply follow the on-screen directions which will have you position your phone's camera over each corner for a moment before moving to the next. The app then leans on advanced algorithms which can detect edges, straighten the image, rotate it to the correct orientation and even remove glare from overhead light sources.
Interestingly enough, some of the same researchers that worked on the PhotoScan app previously developed an algorithm at MIT that was capable of removing reflections and other obstructions from an image. This is one of those semi-rare cases where research in college eventually becomes directly implemented into a consumer-facing product.
I love the idea here as preserving physical copies of memories should be high on everyone's list of priorities. After all, you never know when disaster might strike. My dad, for example, lost nearly everything he owned in a record-setting flood several years back. The very next year, his new place caught fire and burned to the ground. Needless to say, he lost what little he had left after rebuilding from the flood.
It's worth mentioning that if you're a stickler for quality, a high-resolution standalone scanner will still be the ideal way to create the best possible digital backup. With an app, you're bottlenecked by the quality of your smartphone's camera rather than the DPI of your scanner (and in both cases, by the quality of the original print).
Again, an app like this is great for quick and easy backups but if you've got the time and access to a high-end scanner, that's still the ideal way to go.
Google's PhotoScan app is available as of writing from the App Store and Google Play free of charge.