PhotoScan by Google Photos for Android

I’m having a hard time believing that the resolution would be as good as what one can get via a flat bed scanner, but this is still an interesting idea.

PhotoScan by Google Photos is a new Android application by Google to scan printed photos using your device’s built-in camera. PhotoScan is a new scanner app from Google Photos that lets you scan and save your favorite printed photos using your phone’s camera. You have several options at hand if you want to turn your printed photos into digital copies. You could simply use the camera of the smartphone to photograph the photos for instance.

Google’s solution goes further than that as it ships with a couple of options that improve the process which in turn results in better digital copies of the printed photos.

Note: The app requires a couple of extra permissions which seem reasonable with the exception of one. I’m not sure why the app would require microphone permissions, but it requested them. I disabled the permission on my device and did not notice any issues afterwards when using the app.

PhotoScan by Google Photos for Android

photoscan google photos

The app offers the following benefits over using the camera of the phone to take a snapshot of the printed photo:

  • Automatic cropping thanks to edge detection techniques.
  • Automatic rotation so that the photos stay “right-side-up”.
  • Glare-free scans.
  • Perspective correction.

The app is easy to use but requires additional steps to take the photo. It displays the scan interface right on start which acts like any other camera app you may be using on your phone.

Simply move it over the printed photo that you want to digitize and hit the “snapshot” button. Once you have captured the photo, you are asked to move the camera over four dots placed in the edges of the photo. This is done so that PhotoScan by Google Photos gets the edges of the photo right.

Move the seeker icon over the dots and wait for the scanning of the dot to complete. The photo is then added to the app from where you can save it to the local device.

The app ships with a basic viewer / editor that you may make use of. It supports rotating a photo, deleting it, or adjusting its edges. That’s it however in this regard, and it should not come as a surprise that Google recommends that you install the free Google Photos app for more options in this regard.

Closing Words

PhotoScan by Google Photos works really well. While it takes longer to digitize a printed photo using the app, results will look better usually

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