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

Google now offers an innovative app 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.

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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.

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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22 thoughts on “Google’s Free App Could Revolutionize How We Preserve Family Photos and Records”

  1. I have it on my phone & kindle. Works great for me!
    (My daughter & son-in-law take care of all our phones updates.)

  2. Used it on my Samsung S6 and it worked well. It takes way less time than my scanner which is great because I need to scan hundreds of photos from old albums. I hope my Windows 10 PC can get the app too then I could just sign into my Google account to access all the photos – is this possible?

  3. Wow. I just downloaded the app and tried it out on a grainy photo, in a poorly lit room with lots of glare from the lamp on the image. I cannot BELIEVE how good the shot came out. I am using a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Now I might not have to tote my flatbed scanner with me all over Trentino the next time I make the trip. Impressed. Thanks so much for sharing this info.

  4. I tried to download it for an iPhone 5, but it must be set for more recent models only, since it gave me the “not compatible with your device” message.

  5. Google Play Store has a couple of PhotoScans listed. Neither look too successful. What am I missing?

  6. I tried it and it came out with a glare that is not there when I simply take a regular photo with the camera.

  7. Only for android devices, so my iPhone and iPad are not compatible. I’ll have to keep using the scanning apps I already have.

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