Google Stack is an AI-powered document scanning app

Google Stack is an AI-powered document scanning app
(Image credit: Google)

Google has built an AI-powered app that lets users scan physical documents and automatically organise them into Google Drive.

"Stacks" can analyse bills, receipts and any paper documents you have laying around the house and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to scan and categorise before turning them into a PDF.

Users only have to take a photo of their document as the programme can automate the rest. It identifies important information within the document, such as a "due date" or "total amount due", and these bits of information can then be used to help store and search for the documents, with the app auto-generating names based on its content.

The idea comes from Christopher Pedregal, whose ed-tech startup Socratic was acquired by Google back in 2018. Socratic used Google's computer vision and language understanding to make learning tools for high school students. The project was developed by Google's in-house incubator, Area 120, and pulled in members of the tech giant's DocAI team - which has AI programmes for analysing documents.

The app is currently available on Android - free and without in-app purchases - and Google will wait to assess user feedback before launching a version on other platforms, such as iOS. Currently, the Android version can scan a range of different sized documents, such as utility bills, shopping receipts and even identification papers.

Stacks was not the only new AI-based tool Google is showed off on Wednesday as Google Maps has also added a slew of new features. The first is 'Live View', which uses augmented reality to help users navigate indoor spaces such as airports or shopping centres. It uses 'billions' of Street View images to provide live information for a user as they walk through a building, and graphics will mark out where toilets are or the path to the check-in desk.

Google's Live View tool on Google Maps

Maps can also now offer up 'eco-friendly' routes for motorists that optimise fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and travel congestion. Currently, the map updates are available in the US only.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.