Dust off your old photo album, Google wants to digitise it

16 Nov 2016

Old photos seem primed for PhotoScan. Image: jakkapan/Shutterstock

A new Google tool called PhotoScan has been released to allow users digitise their old photographs, meaning you can finally add a vintage filter to those old, vintage images.

We all have photographs from long before iPhones, Galaxy Edges and OnePlus Threes. We all have albums covered in dust under that cabinet in the living room. We all forget about them when they’re not in view.

On our phones, though, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and more are constant reminders of our modern, digitised attempts at capturing the moment.

Google’s hoping to change that.


Bidding to improve on the standard photo-of-a-photo technique users are often faced with when trying to digitise old images in any simple way, Google’s new PhotoScan (Android and iOS) tool is bidding to streamline this process and, ultimately, improve the end product.

PhotoScan lets users do just that “in seconds”, cleverly detecting edges, straightening the image, rotating it to the correct orientation, and removing glare.

From there, understandably, scanned photos can be saved to Google Photos to be organised, shared, easily searched, and safely backed up at high quality. This is all free.

Google is also rolling out three new Photos tools to complement PhotoScan’s release: a new and improved auto enhance, unique new looks, and advanced editing tools.

For auto enhance, just select Auto for options such as balancing exposure.

The 12 ‘new looks’ are essentially filters, so you can sepia-up your already sepia images from Christmas 1991. Lastly, additional editing controls let users mess with lighting, shadows, whites etc.


Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic