The PhotoScan app for iPhones and Android phones will use the phone’s camera to capture an old photo in four sections and stitch them together, much like a panorama shot. Google says this approach helps eliminate glare that can mar attempts to digitize a print by simply photographing the whole photo.
The app will make minor adjustments to restore color in faded photos and to aligned corners when the photo print is bent.
Julia Winn, a product manager for the new app, said scanning photos with traditional scanners takes time, while third-party digitizing services cost money and require you to part with your photos temporarily, risking loss and damage.
The free app, released Tuesday, will work with photos on a table, a picture frame and an album. It will also digitize slides when projected on a wall. Winn said the resolution of the digitized photo will be comparable to that from a flatbed scanner.
You can store digitized versions on your phone or the online Google Photos service, which has unlimited storage for photos of up to 16 megapixels.
Other photo features announced Tuesday include:
– The main Google Photos app is getting additional editing controls. There are new filters for those who like automation and more granular controls for those who prefer manual editing. The new manual options include “deep blue” to give skies and water more color, without oversaturating the rest of the photo, and “skin tone” to adjust only the colors on skins.
– The service will also automatically generate additional types of video highlights, with background music, from your collection of photos and videos. The service initially organized images only around location and date. It recently started creating reels following a kid growing up. A new type, called lullaby, will gather shots from a newborn’s initial days. Coming next month: Christmas shots and happy moments from 2016. Pets and outdoor videos are coming in 2017.