PhotoScan by Google Photos - Scan Old Photos at High Resolution
Photography

PhotoScan by Google Photos: Scan Glare-Free Photos

Create a high resolution, digitized library of your photo albums within seconds

Updated on November 25, 2019
PhotoScan by Google Photos: Scan Glare-Free Photos

Polaroids, for many, are one of the most prized memorabilia out of a collection of artifacts. They permit you to revisit moments that were just as unmissable as they were capturable. For what it’s worth, it wouldn’t be wrong to say the same for our albums. But the instantaneous delivery of content on smartphones have made us a couch potato to open the cupboard and sift through bundles of album pages in (rare) free time.

To the rescue, less surprisingly, are apps that digitize old photos into a save-able version of the print, stored on the phones (or cloud). While there are few alternatives to try out, some of which earn mentions in this post, today we’ll be reviewing PhotoScan by Google Photos.

Easy Photo Scans At Your Tips

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Scanning old photos through flatbed scanners is a tiresome task for few and annoying for many. Moreover, if that wasn’t already a challenge with lax millennials, there wouldn’t be a smartphone app solving the problem.

PhotoScan by Google Photos is an archetype app of Google, hence, its user interface is just as minimal. For this demonstration, let’s jump into the app and find our way around it.

  • Launch the application and the camera frame asks you to position the picture within the prescribed field view   
  • Once you click the shutter button at the bottom, four circles appear at the boundary of the image
  • The app asks you to move the phone towards the circles. 
  • As you complete aligning the camera with the boundary circles, the app produces an optimized image.

You now have a print-ready scanned copy of the physical photo. You can take multiple photos in a single shot and save them together to create a photo collage of sorts as well.

Working Principle

The Google Photo Scan App is modeled to optimize images, taking the glare out of the picture, which you get often due to the flash of a camera. It uses a combination of computer vision and image processing.

Notice the 4 circles on PhotoScan’s widget. Google has trained its algorithm, in a series of efforts, to distinguish between preservable elements of a photo, such as warmth, temperature etc. from those which are to be disposed-off such as glare spots. Glare is a factor of light, and light as we know it depends on the angle of viewing.

So when you move your phone over the circles, from step 2 onwards, you’re letting the Google Photo Scan App create multiple pixel-maps of the photo. In each turn, since the angle of the observable view frame is different, the glare is bound to be different. In the end, smart computations superimpose those images to produce a final scanned copy, eliminating the variable glare and retaining permanent photo pixels.

USP - Scanning old Photos has never been Easier

  • The beauty of the Google Photo Scan App is that it automatically smoothens the edges out, hence no need for further cropping. However, image processing results are not permanent, as users can manually set corners later if they choose to.
  • We’ve found the app to be equally effective on different photo bases such as matte, gloss and magazine covers, just as Google claims.
  • PhotoScan deserves credit for deploying sophisticated machine learning which positions the image always with the right side up.
  • The photos are by default stored on your phone, but you can onboard pictures to Google Photos via the app without incurring charges. There’s one feature though that may spook people a bit. Images uploaded by the Google Photo Scan App onto the company’s photo library are passed through face recognition. By virtue of which the company can surmise that you’ve aged.

The Only Way (perhaps) To Digitize Old Photos

There are flat-bed scanners in the market. For that matter, there are DSLRs as well but people still by phones exclusively for their cameras. The Google Photo Scan App has primary competition from the likes of Photomyne and CamScanner in addition to secondary competitors like the Adobe Scanner & Pic Scanner. While a detailed comparison easily lapses into a separate discussion, in our experience, PhotoScan topples the two with

  • The simplicity of its UI
  • Automated yet smart photo editions
  • Preserving original image quality

PhotoScan by Google Photos plays the part for camera hobbyists who’ll content with archiving purely for the joy of preserving memories. It needs to be added though, the phone camera profoundly influences the penultimate scan quality rendering it better or worse. Experts looking to venture beyond than just digitize old photos will find flat-bed scanners a better fit, for everything else, there’s the PhotoScan App.

MAD Verdict - 4.25 Stars

  • Design - 4.5 stars
  • Usability - 4 stars
  • Feature - 4.5 stars
  • Support - 4 stars

Meenal  <span> Creative Lead </span>
Written By Meenal Creative Lead

She is a writer and content marketer at MobileAppDaily. She can mold the most annoying app into a gleaming stone. Her knack around the mobile apps is merely splendid. Her experience in the tech industry has assisted her in churning out the best and more importantly, unbiased mobile app reviews.

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