Google on Tuesday launched the PhotoScan app. The app will help users digitize print images using their smartphones and is available for free on Android and iOS.

Explaining the rationale behind the app, David Lieb, product development head, Google Photos, said: “These photos are at risk. They’re at risk of being lost when you move, they’re at risk of fires, floods, and theft. And with every day that passes they fade away a bit — they literally fade away."

Here's how you can use the app to digitize your old photos developed on print: 

  • You can scan the prints by using your smartphone's camera via the app. 
  • The app will open up and instruct you on how to position a photo within the frame. 
  • Once your device is properly positioned, four dots will appear on the photo. 
  • To scan, move your phone over each of the dots and hold it in the position until the dot is filled in. In case you want to scan more photos, you can repeat the process. 
  • The scanned images can be saved to Google Photos by a single tap. They will automatically be color-corrected, cropped and rotated. 
  • You can edit the scanned images using Google Photos' editing tools such as auto-enhance. To access the editing tools, you can tap on the pencil icon above the photo and select Auto. 
  • The Auto option will automatically make enhancements such as balancing exposure and saturation, which will bring out the details in the photos. 
  • The app comes with 12 new looks and will make edits based on how the photo looks in terms of brightness, darkness, saturation and warmth.
  •  The users can also edit images according to their preferences using the light and color editing tools to adjust highlights. 
  • To find the photos, search for “Scans” in Google Photos. You can also save them to the camera roll to view them online. 

Google Photoscan Google PhotoScan app transforms prints into digitized images. Photo: Google Blog

PhotoScan comes soon after the company announced Sunday updates to Google Photos, bringing along new features such as offline animations and faster sharing.

The goal behind the update appears to be to help people move from offline to online storage using Google Photos. The company also introduced a “Movies” feature in September that automatically generates slideshows from the photos in your library.