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Google Introduces App to Digitize & Save Photos in Cloud

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Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google is now offering a cheaper and hustle free way of converting printed photos into high-quality digital ones. Android and iPhone users can now preserve their old memories through Google’s cloud photo storage and sharing service.

The company launched a free app PhotoScan on Tuesday. It is different from other photo and document scanners as it has a feature that creates glare-free, automatically cropped digital photos.

How Does it Work

Opening the app automatically launches the phone camera. Users have to hold their phones at the same level as the photo to be scanned and click after it fits entirely inside the frame. Then they have to move their phones to arrange the four white dots that appear over the photo in a line until they turn blue.

During this step, the phone camera captures four different angles of the same photo and merges them together to create a glare-free image.

The photo is automatically cropped, rotated and color-corrected, and the final file can be stored in the Google Photos library. The scanned photos can also be stored in camera roll and shared with other apps.


Updates to Google Photos

Google has updated Google photos with new editing and auto enhancement tools powered by machine learning. A dozen new photo filters, capable of editing photos based on darkness, brightness, warmth or saturation, have been added.

For example, the “Deep Blue” feature adds more color to skies and water without oversaturating other parts of a photo and "skin tone" adjusts only skin color. Multiple photos can now be shared and one can  also use the option of texting or e-mailing a link.

The company is playing a lot with video themes that the app automatically generates. A new video type “Lullaby’ released on Tuesday compiles photos of an infant’s initial days. Upcoming additions will include Christmas-themed, pet-themed, nature-themed and outdoor-themed shots.

Our Take

The new launch and update is yet another example of how serious Google is about developing machine learning and artificial intelligence for a time in the future when the intricacies of human behavior would require even more accurate patterns.

The company has been turning over some search functions to its AI systems. As Alphabet generates significant cash from operations and also holds a huge cash balance, management has the flexibility to pursue growth in any area that exhibits true potential. This flexibility, along with its technological prowess allows it to pursue opportunities in different markets.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

Currently, Alphabet is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Kimball Electronics, Inc. , NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA - Free Report) , and Control4 Corporation (CTRL - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

For the current year, the consensus estimate for Kimball Electronics has gone up by 8.1% in the past 30 days. Estimates for NVIDIA and Control4 have gone up by 22.6% and 10% respectively, over the same time frame.

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