The demand for flatbed scanners and printers has never been higher since the global pandemic brought students and employees home. Although document scanning on a PC operating system is easy thanks to broad software support from manufacturers, Chromebook owners have had to rely on workarounds to digitize their papers on Chrome OS. With the release of the native print jobs app on OS 86, it looks like Google is close to bringing a native scan tool to everyone.
There are a number of useful scanning apps on the Play Store that allow you to take photos of documents and turn them into digital copies. In fact, I wonder if proper scanners are even still sold anymore, such is the ease with which their purpose can now be fulfilled by a smartphone. Adobe Scan is one of the most popular examples of such an app, and its latest update makes it more powerful than ever. Read More
There is no shortage of document scanning apps on the Play Store, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft Lens. But if you aren't happy with those options, or if you frequently use Adobe Document Cloud, then Adobe's new scanning app might be worth trying out. Read More
Evernote is a place for storing notes, and not just the ones you've typed up. You're welcome to scan documents and upload them to the service. Alternatively, you can whip out your phone, open the app, and take a picture.
With the latest update, Evernote has enhanced the photo-capturing experience. Read More
Optical character recognition, also known as OCR, is really an amazing technology. If you aren't familiar, it takes images and reads the text on them. For PDFs, it can make the words it finds searchable, selectable, and whatever else you may want to do with them. The better implementations of OCR work well enough that they pretty much make CAPTCHAs pointless. And while Google Drive has offered this function in English for over a year now, it is now rolling it out to over 200 different languages.
Doing so is easy as pie. In Drive, just go to an image or PDF and open it with Google Docs, like you see above. Read More
Remember Flow, Amazon's augmented reality shopping aid that kinda sorta worked? Well now you don't have to, because the functionality has been rolled into the main Amazon shopping app. Now you can scan barcodes and even full products (at least some of the time) to compare their prices to everyone's favorite online megamart. And incidentally, you don't need a second app to do it.
The Flow features work best with a barcode, but the camera scanner will try to identify anything. Products with clear logos or easily-recognizable labels, like DVDs or cereal boxes, work best. For example, Flow can't recognize a white Nexus 5 sans packaging, but it managed to spot the NVIDIA SHIELD from the printed photo on the retail box. Read More
Heads up, Google Wallet fans: better support for loyalty cards is coming to a Play Store update near you. According to a Google+ update from the Wallet team earlier today, the app will soon be able to auto-populate information when scanning in loyalty cards, presumably including the name and merchant. The update should be coming later this week, at least for the first batch of users. There are also some user interface changes, including a modified slide-out menu.
For those brick-and-mortar stores that also support Google Wallet's deals and offers, the Wallet app will also alert you when you're physically near the store in question. Read More
There are a lot of security apps for Android that go a little ways into overkill territory. Whether you're talking about superfluous task managers or "virus scanners" that may provide some minimal protection while generating more fear than is warranted, Android has a persistent problem with companies applying a Windows-era mentality on a completely different OS. Secunia PSI, however, takes the cake for being one of the least effective apps on the Play Store.
Here's how it works: Secunia scans your apps for possible vulnerabilities. Not actual infections, mind you. It just checks to see if the currently installed versions of your application match any known security holes. Read More
When we first discovered Slice, the app that scans your email for packages that you're waiting to be delivered, has updated to version 2.0 and brought a host of new features with it. For starters, if you use Hotmail, AOL, or iCloud as your primary email, you can now join in the fun. You can track outgoing packages by scanning tracking barcodes as well or entering the number manually, and filtering options have been improved.
The app also adds a new feature called "Thingerprint" which, aside from having a truly bizarre name, allows you to see how much money you've spent on what types of goods. Read More
Amazon-owned development house A9 Innovations has released a product search app built on the idea that instead of tapping buttons to take pictures of products, you'd rather just point your camera at products. Probably not a bad notion! Not exactly the most important thing to spend a bunch of money and time developing, but hey, if you can just wave your phone in front of a movie and get pricing and review information, it's gotta be worth it, right?
Well, it would be, if it worked like that. Unfortunately, in practice the augmented reality app has some trouble recognizing cover art. Read More