A new feature introduced to Google Photos automatically suggests to the user if they want to crop and adjust images of documents that they capture using their smartphones. The developers of Google Photos demonstrated how this functionality works using a short clip posted on the app's official Twitter account. Once the user opens a photograph of a receipt or a document, a suggestion to crop and adjust the image will appear near the bottom of the application. Pressing this suggestion will crop the picture, and options to rotate the photograph, adjust the corners, and calibrate the color of the document will then appear. After altering the image, the user will have to tap on the Save button to keep the changes made to the file.
Background: There are already numerous applications available in the Google Play Store that allows people to use their smartphones as portable scanners. For example, Microsoft offers the Office Lens app on the Play Store, which integrates with other popular Microsoft-developed applications like OneNote. Even Google already allows users to scan their documents using the Google Drive application, and the search giant's cloud storage service can also recognize the characters in the scanned document.
However, Google Photos makes it easier for consumers to access their scanned documents, and since the app automatically backs up the user's images to the cloud, people will still have a copy of their files even if they lose the handset or accidentally delete the photograph. Furthermore, the integrated sharing features of Google Photos make it easier for users to send scanned documents to other people. Since Google Photos usually comes pre-installed in Android smartphones, people no longer need to download a separate application to scan their documents. Nevertheless, if the user wants more control over how they scan their records, they may still need to install a dedicated application for this purpose.
Google already added many features into Google Photos over the past few months, some of which take advantage of machine learning algorithms. For example, the Color Pop feature automatically detects the subject of the photograph and leaves them colored, while turning the background of the image black and white. Another feature of Google Photos that use artificial intelligence is the Live Albums functionality. Users only need to create a new album or tweak an existing one and include selected friends or family members into the shared album. Once the user takes more photographs, the software automatically updates the albums once it detects that the user has captured an image of a selected family member or friend. Google Photos also redesigned its share menu by introducing a universal search function while reducing the amount of screen space taken up by the menu.
Impact: Over the past few months, Google has added more features to Google Photos, making the device more useful for consumers. This software showcases the best that Google offers in terms of cloud storage and artificial intelligence, and as the search giant develops its algorithms, the application may see more functionalities in the near future.