Wednesday, 16 November 2016 09:57

Get those old photos out of the shoebox with Google PhotoScan

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Google has released its PhotoScan app to make digitising old photos less of a chore, along with an updated version of Google Photos.

Using a phone or tablet's camera as a scanner replacement is nothing new – there are plenty of apps designed for this purpose. They typically use edge detection to isolate the document from its background, and crop and warp that area into a rectangle.

Real scanners also do edge detection, but as the imaging unit is perpendicular to the document they don't need to adjust the shape.

Google's PhotoScan is the latest entry to this arena, and as its name suggests is designed for capturing photographs.

Available for Android (Lollipop or later) and iOS (8.1 or later), the new app takes care of those functions and also automatically rotates the image to the correct orientation and removes glare.

That last point is particularly important as so many photos were printed on glossy paper.

This video explains how the magic works:

The idea is that captured photos are saved to Google Photos, which has just been updated in its Android, iOS and Web implementations.

Auto enhance has been improved to give better looking photos, smart "looks" automatically adjust a photo before applying filters such as monochrome or warmer or cooler tones, and light and colour editing controls allow fine tuning.


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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