Scanning into the cloud: Android apps

You’re in a group project meeting. You’ve sketched out the best plan ever on a whiteboard. Now what?

Take a picture with your smartphone, then take it to the next level.

Try Skitch (also available for iPhone). Take a picture, and draw on it, type on it, draw arrows on it, and share it out directly to Dropbox, Evernote, email, facebook, gmail, twitter, Flickr, Picasa, a text message – options abound.


Skitch is fun, but if you want to actually scan text to text (rather than text to image), some good options exist.

I like Document Scanner. It’s not free, but you could do worse for $3.98.

The key is its “Upload to Google Docs with OCR” feature. Google will scan the actual words in the picture, and create a text document version of your picture. Hence, Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Document Scanner also has direct connectivity with Evernote, Dropbox, and a number of other useful features that make the $3.98 possibly worth the purchase.

But maybe not. I’ve had widely varied success with Google OCR:

Good job, Google: A sample scan from Harvard Business Review.

Bad job, Google: A sample scan from a printed email.

Until Google’s scans improve, apps like Document Scanner might not be worth the extra money. But it may be worth taking a free trial for a spin to see what may well save you a bundle in photocopying fees – and a few trees – in the future.
Are you using your phone to get more out of your group meetings or classes? Have you found better apps than these? CamScanner? ScanToPDF?

What else do you look for in a scanner app?

Let us know in the comments and we’ll keep an eye out.

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