It’s really great to capture our daily moments with our smartphones and then be able to look back through our gallery to relive the moments. But, what happens to those good ole’ pictures taken “back in the day” before the selfie era? Are we supposed to just leave them in a box that will only see the light of day once every blue moon? As part of its latest efforts to bring more pictures online, Google has updated its Photos app with a couple of new features and has even launched a new tool designed for Google Photos users dubbed PhotoScan that is available as a separate app.
PhotoScan’s interface is admirably simple, and doesn’t even require a login.
Once the app has been downloaded, you are introduced to the app with a bit of an intro video. This video shows you the steps needed to take while scanning the images, then you are thrown into the main screen. In order to properly scan an image, you will need to ensure that the image is lined up within a border.
To scan and upload the pictures, Google claims to have used a new technique that is possible thanks to machine learning and allows the pictures to be captured with zero glare by hovering over four white dots that are indicated by the app itself. To many people, the new app will represent a significant time saver and a cheaper option to scan pictures than sending the original prints off to be professionally scanned.
After the scan has been completed, photos are automatically cropped, rotated, and color corrected. You can save them to Google Photos with one tap — and then, when you want to find them, you can just search for “scans” inside Google Photos and they’ll all come up. (You can also save them to your camera roll or share them to other apps.)
Google Photos will also automatically recognize the content of an image imported from PhotoScan. If you’re a Google Photos user who has tagged images of friends and family members, Google says its software will automatically recognize those people in images imported from PhotoScan, even if they’re much younger in the scanned photo.)
The trade-off for the speed of the scans is quality — it’s slightly lower than what you might expect to get from a traditional flat-bed scanner.
Apart from the seperate PhotoScan app, Google also introduced some changes to the Photos app in an update :
- Editing in Google Photos has been revamped with an “auto enhance” quick tool for images, more and different filters called Looks, and advanced editing controls, that lets photo aficionados noodle around more finely with levels and colors.
- Google Photos will be rolling out more sophisticated movies its assistant automatically generates, such as one called “Lullaby” that will collect pics of your sleeping baby and set them to quiet music. It will have another around Christmas that will combine images and clips from Christmases past, with plans for more next year, like a movie for images of pets in April.
- The app’s shared album feature will make it easier to combine pictures from multiple people, by sending a link to the shared album to specific people via an email, a text or through Google Photos app itself.
This move from Google is intended to increase the number of users for its online photo storage service, of course. Google Photos, in terms of features and technology is already ahead of the curve, however it still faces stiff competition from the likes of Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Many many people don’t even know the service exists, and are surprised by what it can do when they find out.