New Helps from Google – and not just for Searching!

Say “Google” to a Family Historian and they immediately think of doing a Google Search – and it is a great search engine.

But Google offers much more help for Family History!  Recently they introduced a new product and made a major update to one that has been around for a while.

  1. Photoscan – this free app has just been introduced by Google – and works on Phones and Tablets – Apple and Android – (although when you download the app you need to look for a phone app – which works fine on your iPad or tablet).  As the title suggests this is a scanner for old photos – and a very handy one too!  But how good is the quality? If you don’t have a scanner or don’t know how to use one it is great! I’ve done several pictures – and had some very very good results and some just OK – probably the operator?   Quality is OK with Photoscan but my flatbed scanner at 300 dpi is better – remember that this is only the first version of the app and it will get better – there was an update in the first week with new tools added — the app takes 4 images of one picture and splices them together.  Quick and easy to use.  Go to https://www.google.com/photos/scan/ and scroll down  for short video demo.   Preserve your old photos – get them digitized.  No excuse now.  On a side note I was just noticing that the Adobe Acrobat Reader app has been updated to include a scanner – haven’t tried it yet – but imagine it could be very useful for documents.
  2. Google Translate – has had a very significant update – very helpful for Family History
    1.   “This landmark update is our biggest single leap in 10 years.”  “The latest update to Google Translate utilizes Google’s Neural Machine Translation (NMT) system for translating phrases, which is rolling out to eight language pairs.” “The system still makes some mistakes, such as dropping words or failing to understand a person’s name, but it has cut errors by 55 to 85 percent in several languages.  Analyzing a phrase or paragraph rather than a single word to reconstruct a more grammatically correct and natural translation.  to and from English and French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Turkish.”
    2.   Go to https://translate.google.ca/  or available in Google searches or in Google Chrome or as an app on your mobile device.
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