Google PhotoScan app launches

Google PhotoScan app launches

Google has just launched its Google PhotoScan app this month and the results are a marked improvement, over using your stock camera app, when digitising your old photographs.

The Google PhotoScan app is available as a standalone app from Google Photos and the app is available for free. You can be downloaded Google PhotoScan for Android from the Play Store and you can download Google PhotoScan for Apple iOS devices from iTunes.


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Digitising photos

There has always been a problem with digitising old photos, as reflections and glare often mar the result. When using a digital camera of smartphone camera, there are the added impossibilities of trying to get the photo lined up and square within the shot.

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However, if you don’t attempt to digitise photos then they will eventually fade and begin to turn yellow, as the chemical dyes begin to break down. This is where the PhotoScan app stands in and without the need of an expensive scanner or digital camera, it is possible to digitise old photos with relative ease and overcome the problems mentioned above.

Digitising photos with PhotoScan

PhotoScan can create a digital copy of your precious photographs in a matter of seconds. The app will capture the photograph and detect its edges so that it can straighten the image and rotate it to its correct orientation. 

The shooting process removes any glare and the results are saved to Google Photos. This means that they can be organised, shared, backed up and become searchable.

So, how does PhotoScan tackle the issue of glare? 

  1. You begin by capturing an image of the photograph from within the PhotoScan app. 
  2. Next the app asks you to move the camera to a corner of the photo, where it captures another image. This is then repeated for the other corners.

PhotoScan then selects the best results from the images and merges them to make one glare-free result. 

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After this, you are given the option to edit and align the corners, should the automatic alignment need any correction. Each corner can be adjusted and the app zooms in on the corner so that you can be absolutely precise.

PhotoScan alignment

Tip: The knack of getting really good results with PhotoScan is to move the phone to the corners of the photograph to get the secondary images, instead of tilting the phone.  

PhotoScan vs camera

I conducted numerous tests of digitising old photos, using both the PhotoScan app and the phone’s stock camera app. The PhotoScan app won hands-down, reducing reflections and glare, while capturing more precise detail. 

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Below is a zoomed in section of a photo taken on a smartphone. On the left is the phone’s stock camera app result, while on the right is the PhotoScan result. Notice how the glare has been removed on the right and how more detail is visible.

PhotoScan app vs Camera app

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Written by: Michael Brown

XS SM MD LG