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Google's PhotoScan - App to digitalise old printed photos

PhotoScan App
It has been less than a couple of decades since digital cameras became mainstream and we all own bunch of old photos. Printed photographs take up physical space as well as deteriorate over time & hence needs to be converted into digital copies.

Google wants to help you go digital with its latest PhotoScan app.

Though you can directly capture photo of your printed photos via your phone's camera but it's never a good solution as the results suffer from glares, tilted images, needs cropping etc.

PhotoScan is an app that solves all these problems. The user need to open the app, click a picture & move the camera as instructed on the screen & voila, it's done. You get a perfectly scanned digital copy of your old photo which is free from light/flash glares, shadows, unwanted tilt & doesn't need cropping or editing via any photo editor.

The app actually takes a main photo & 4 other photos and stitches all of them using its algorithm, similar to a panorama photo, eliminating all kinds of glare & distortions.  

Verdict: The app scores full points for removing glares but fails at preserving the quality of the photo. The resulting images look compressed & often washed out. It may be the best app if you want to casually scan the photo to share it on social media, but it's definitely not suitable for serious archiving. It's presently the best app for scanning a photo but it's still not quite where you'd be completely satisfied with it, though we must not forget that it's just the beginning & it would improve over the years with updates.


To Scan a Photo

1. Open the PhotoScan app.
2. To start the scan, hold your phone directly above a photo. Tap the button to take a picture.
3. Move your phone around until the circle is over each of the four dots.
4. Once the photo has been processed, go to the bottom right and tap the photo thumbnail.
5. Select a photo to rotate, adjust the corners or delete.
6. To save to your device, tap Save all. To save only one photo, touch and hold a photo, then tap Save.

As per our tests the app performs best if your phone has a good camera & if you can keep your hands stable while taking the photos/moving the camera around.

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