Google has taken the wraps of a new app called PhotoScan overnight, and it’s nothing short of awesome. The new app for Android or iOS lets you capture and preserve all of your old photos, not the digital ones but those bits of glossy paper that most of us have locked away somewhere, oh and if you’ve got them in your roof Google wants you to know that’s like the 87th best place to keep them, we assume in Google Photos is 1st.
Before we jump in further watch the video below.
Ok so how does this all work? Machine learning of course, well actually computational photography. The wonderful Nat and Lo have a great little run down of how the app works and a bit about the team’s history, but we’re left wondering if there is any association between PhotoScan and Google Research’s announcement yesterday of RAISR: Rapid and Accurate Image Super-Resolution, a new Machine learning process for enhancing images. Check out Nal and Lo’s video below.
For the best PhotoScan experience Google obviously thinks you should pair it with their Google Photos app, and we’d tend to agree. Now this app is 1.0, and we’ll be a little gentle on it to start with, however, I’ve got a few feature requests. I’m a bit of an obsessive compulsive, so nothing would brown me off more than having all of my old images appear out of chronological order, at present there isn’t an easy way for the app to let you set any metadata for things like date (even a year) or location.
What would be great is if Google could look for the little red LED time stamp on any photos and tag the images with that date (and then remove the damn stamp using ML magic). Secondly, and far more impressively, Google could use it’s machine learning to “guess” the date of the image based on the physical characteristics of the people in them. If the photo has a photo of me and my brothers in it surely it can at least sort it roughly? Come on Google, impress me!
From a usability standpoint the app was simple, just simply snap a photo of the photo, quickly capture the 4 corners and wamo you’re done, even the processing of the image only takes a few second. Once you’ve grabbed the image you can review it, fix up things like rotation, corner detection and the neither keep it and move on or delete it and start again. Once you’ve completed a session just click done and send them all to Google Photos for free online back up.
I only had access to limited images during the review (I’ll have to get into my roof and save my photos) but after a few attempts I wasn’t fully impressed by the result. That said, I’ll have to give it a bit more time before I could call it either way I’ll place the same photo and it’s original (digital version) below.
Obviously this photo makes the app look like a failure, so we’re going to have to test it a bit more to really make a determination. If you want to try out PhotoScan for yourself, and we think you should, then grab it below.
Are you about to obsessively start backing up all of your old photos? Let us know!