Google PhotoScan Is a Handy Pocket Photo Scanner

(Josh Centers) #1

Originally published at:

If you find yourself needing a digital version of a physical photo—as uncommon as that might seem in today’s modern world—Google’s free PhotoScan app may be the ideal tool, particularly if you don’t already own a scanner, or have one in your pocket.

(Mike V.) #2

Josh, what are my privacy concerns using this app? And what does Google get out of this? Surely they’re not releasing this so a user can simply scan their photos.

(Tommy Weir) #3

This is my preferred solution, the Epson FF-640, just waiting until it becomes available on this side of the Atlantic.

(Matt McCaffrey) #4

Let the “this is MY app” avalanche begin! :slight_smile:

I’ve been using the “Scanner Pro” app by Readdle for years now. It lacks what appears to be an innovative way of combining several scans to eliminate glare. But it handles documents and photos very well. It also has many pipelines to sync your photos and docs to different cloud repositories (think Evernote, Dropbox, and so on), along with customizable workflows so you can send something exactly where you want it. The scanning process is simple: hover your device over the paper, let it find the edges, and when it’s ready, it captures an image. It can do multiple captures, without requiring you to touch a button in between takes. The crop editing process is similar to Google PhotoScan. It has built-in text recognition as well, and can switch its processing from document to photo at a touch.

They charge $3.99 for it in the App Store. I’m not sure any more what the “in app purchases” would be, or cost, because it’s been quite a while that I’ve been using it.

I so recommend this approach, whether it’s Scanner Pro, Google PhotoScan, or another app (Evernote captures scans now in a similar way). For documents, I now take a moment after meetings to scan the handouts, which generally have my own notations on them, and then shred them on the spot.

And, the other evening, my 3 year old granddaughter was visiting and did one of those “paint with water” drawings that burst with color while wet, then fade as the water dries. I scanned the photo, printed it to an Epson printer via AirPrint, and gave it to her a couple minutes later. She was enchanted. It would have been a pain to do with just the camera and Photos, because the print would have been distorted. Scanner Pro automagically straightened it out.

(Joseph) #6

Agreed, Matt. This app is so excellent. Another wonderful use is receipt scanning. The automatic edge detection and straightening are wonderful.

(Josh Centers) #7

As I said, it’s not linked to an account as far as I can tell, so it’s limited. However, I’m willing to bet this app is helping train Google’s photo recognition AI for Google Photos and other projects.

(Tommy Weir) #8

I use Scanner Pro on my iPhone too. Great for dealing with books and research material. The ability to make a multi page PDF on a phone, priceless.

But the six archive boxes of old photos… I need more help…


Is there a reason for using this (or other apps) instead of I find Notes to be an excellent scanner, especially via the iPad.

(Gil Woolley) #10

I have enjoyed using Photoscan at SF Moma to capture some lovely paintings by the Norwegian artist Munck. His work is seldom seen outside Norway.

I use an Epson V200 at home for old negatives and photos but Photo scan is a great way to capture great art at a museum where photography is permitted. No flash allowed typically. Gil