Google’s New Free App Could Revolutionize How We Preserve Family Photos and Records

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Google’s New Free App Could Revolutionize How We Preserve Family Photos and Records


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Google has announced a new app today that brings the ease of scanning and preserving old family photos and records to a whole new level. And Anil Sabharwal, vice president of Google Photos, was inspired to create the free app by his own family’s past.

According to CNET “His grandparents, who were Hindus living in what had just become the Muslim state of Pakistan, faced soldiers at the door who ordered them to gather what belongings they could carry to cross the Indian border. Leaving behind jewelry and other valuables, Sabharwal’s grandparents made sure to grab photos.”

Although many family historians use their phones to record old photos already (by photographing them or using one of the available app scanners on the market) Google’s new tool, called PhotoScan, is likely to offer increased accuracy and ease of use, as well as many advanced options.

PhotoScan uses your phone (or tablet’s) camera and flash to quickly scan a photo or document and then applies various filters to provide the best results — including glare reduction, cropping and perspective correction. Once photos or documents are scanned they can easily be stored in your Google Photos account (or anywhere else that you back up your photos) and can, of course, be saved to your family tree or shared with others.

Perhaps the best part of using an app to scan family photos or digitize records is that you do not need to remove them from an album or handle them extensively, reducing the chance of harming or losing them. This app can also be used for trips to historical societies, libraries and family history centers to help you record genealogy records on the go.

PhotoScan is free and can be downloaded now for Android or iOS. Check out the Google PhotoScan page for more information on the new app.

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PhotoScan’s release is timed perfectly for the family gatherings that many will be attending in the coming weeks and months. This seems to have been intentional on Google’s part and we love that they’re helping to break down barriers to mass digitization. We all know how important it is to take the time to preserve family memories whenever we have the chance, so if you haven’t yet asked your relatives to bring out the old photos and family records this new app should be just the motivation you need.

Don’t have a phone or tablet? There are other options for mobile scanning — we have put together a list of them here. 

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