Google Stack

In what may come as good news for people who have been facing hassles scanning their documents ever since CamScanner went out the window, Google has announced the release of its latest product. Google Stack, the tech biggie’s hot new app (just fresh out of development), has officially been launched into the market. Designed to work on the lines of the likes of Microsoft Lens and the public favorite CamScanner, the app is made to allow users to scan documents and images, and compile and store them in various formats including the Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

The development of this tool was undertaken by the Area 120 Division of Google (which is basically an in-house incubator for the firm, assigned with developing and testing experimental projects and applications), and it is currently only available to Android users in the US. The coming months may see Stack being opened for the global market, as well as the launch of an iOS version, though there is no official word by the company on the speculation yet.

The team behind the app was led by Christopher Pedregal, former head of Socratic. Sharing his views via a blog post, he said, “I joined Google a couple of years ago when my education startup, Socratic, was acquired. At Socratic, we used Google’s computer vision and language understanding to make learning easier for high school students. I wondered if we could apply the same technologies to make organising documents easier.”

The tool’s development was carried out by making use of artificial intelligence (AI), which was created by the DocAI team at Google. “We found that by applying DocAI’s enterprise technology to personal documents, we could help people get organized,” says a blog post by the firm.

So far, the features incorporated into Google Stack will allow users to scan documents, receipts and bills, IDs, paychecks, and so on, and convert and store them as PDF files. Another feature will be automatic naming of new files (which is what sets Stack apart from other apps, which only generate an alphanumeric name, and require users to change it manually) and suggestions about the right category for placing the file into (based on the AI used in the app, this feature will also likely come in handy, by placing similar documents in the same category, and making locating them easier). Also available will be a Search tool to find something in a stored file. The app will also provide for protection against unauthorized access, by the use of biometric scanning like Fingerprint Lock or Face Lock, and will be capable of recognizing important and sensitive information such as names, dates of birth, etc.

Users will have the option of storing all the files created through Stack into Google Drive, and access them at any time, even if they stop using the app itself.

While the application does seem promising, it is still in the experimental phase, and so, it’s legit to expect that its algorithms aren’t yet perfect and do mess up sometimes. In fact, this has been accepted by Google itself. Nevertheless, the firm has expressed its commitment to developing and improving Stack further in the future. It remains to be seen if the improvement actually happens, or if the app is destined to join the ever-growing list of failed Google products.

This app can fill the hole that was left in the wake of CamScanner (along with multiple other Chinese apps) being banned in India due to escalating tensions with neighbor China. Stack might be able to attract a lot of attention from users in India, if it becomes the first major app in the sector to enter the country.