Today Google came out with a new app called PhotoScan that will scan your old photo collection. Like just everyone, I have stashes of shoeboxes inherited from parents full of pictures. Some were scanned in a scanner, back when I had one that was compatible with a computer. More recently, I’ve used scanning apps like Readdle’s Scanner Pro and Scanbot. These de-skew the photographs of the photos that your phone takes but the resolution’s is not always the best and there can be some glare from overhead lights, especially when you’re working with a glossy original pictures.
Google’s approach cleverly stitches together multiple photos. It uses a process much like their 360-degree photo app: you start with a overview photo. Once taken, you see four circles hovering to the sides of the picture. Move the camera to each and it takes more pictures. Once you’ve gone over all four circles, Google stitches these five photos together in such a way that there’s no perspective distortion.
What’s remarkable is the speed. I scanned 15 photos in while also making dinner for the kids. The dimensions of all looked good and the resolution looks about as good as the original. These are good results for something so easy.
Check out Google’s announcement blog post for details.
It’s probably not a good idea to be use bleeding-edge betas. That’s especially true for a tool used daily, like a cellphone. But I’ll freely admit that Apple’s iOS 7, announced Monday, has been itching at me. CultofMac told readers straight-out not to install it. But commenters there and elsewhere have been reporting few problems and apparently it is possible to go back to 6 if problems arise.
So this evening I took the plunge. I used the method outlined here and signed up at imzdl.com. It all worked pretty well. And so far, so good. The battery looks like it’s draining a bit faster than before, but that’s to be expected of a first beta and it’s not the half-battery that the Chicken Littles claim. A few apps have bombed on me, but only sporadically. Skype didn’t open at first, but a quick look at their support forums found you just needed to delete and reinstall the app.
Is it worth it? I don’t know. The new icons are still a bit rough, as reported, but more than that, their flatness looks out of place next to the 3-D icons that most iPhone apps still use. The new quick-settings bar is cool and the parallax effect for backgrounds is cooler still (it shifts the background as the accelerometer moves about, giving it all a feeling a depth). We’re told that multi-tasking is more robust, but that’s not something one notices immediately (besides, Android’s had it for years). I’ll update as I explore more. Guesses are that the second beta will come in about ten days — I’ll see if I can live with the first beta’s battery hit until then.
This is just so depressing: the Facebook gorilla has bought its second mobile photo sharing app in recent weeks. Lightbox was a great app. It auto-posted to everything I cared about (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, Flickr) but also had its own beautiful website that kept it above the fray. Lightbox (my account is/was at http://martinkelley.lightbox.com/) was what Flickr should have and could have become and it let me enjoy the fantasy while also dual-posting to Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin_kelley), which has stored my photos since Mark Zuckerberg was in training diapers. For more on the Flickr that never was, see today’s piece in Gizmodo, “How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet.”
Lightbox is joining Facebook!
We started Lightbox because we were excited about creating new services built primarily for mobile, especially for the Android and HTML5 platforms, and we’re honored that millions of you have…
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