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Google Bringing Printed Photos to Digital Life

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Google Photos was the first app to provide us with free and unlimited cloud backup for all our photos and videos. The innovative search feature was fresh and finally made it easy to locate that one photo is a sea of thousands. Machine learning algorithms meant it was possible to search for any place, activity, food or even colour and receive accurately filtered results. Now Google have released a new tool that can turn printed photos into high quality digital copies in a matter of seconds, taking our photo (and #Throwbackthursday) game to a whole new level.

Google’s PhotoScan means that those older photos – pre-smartphone era – can be brought online, stored with your digital photos and can become part of your Google Photos experience. Printed pictures tend to represent the most important moments and memories, as people were more selective about which pictures to take because of the price of film and prints. Also there’s always a possibility that you could lose all these photos permanently.

Of course there are a limited ways to do this now – sending them off to be professionally scanned (reluctance to send away original photos), scanning individual photos yourself (long) or taking photos of photos with a phone (glare, unaligned, and unwanted background) – and these don’t always lead to high quality photos.

PhotoScan will help you to take photos of these prints, then automatically address all of these common problems. It works by taking multiple shots of the photo from different angles so the glare has been moved around too. The app will remove the glare, automatically rotate the image, align it and remove any unwanted background such as tabletops. Photos will then be saved to the phone’s photo gallery and synced to Google Photos, all in a matter of seconds.

The in-app editor will let you make a few tweaks of your own if desired, but Google Photos has more comprehensive editing tools including an auto enhance feature, tools for making granular adjustments to light and colour in photos as well as a dozen new photo filters. These filters are powered by machine learning, and will edit the photo based on its brightness, darkness, warmth or saturation before applying the new style.

So Google’s new tool can get you great looking digital copies of printed photos in seconds and for free. Thanks for having our back!




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