Having to deal with paperwork is a real pain, whether it’s photocopy or digital. Tax documents, insurance company benefits explanations, purchase receipts, prescriptions, bills, vaccination cards – the daily document list goes on and on, and of course, when you suddenly need to find the receipt for your 2-year-old laptop, it won’t be found. Nowhere
Stack, Google’s latest experimental app, is meant to help make that part of life easier. The product of Google Stack Area 120 incubator is designed to that A place where you can keep PDF copies of all those documents. As mentioned in our introductory article, Stack borrows the technology that forms the foundation of Google̵7;s powerful DocAI Enterprise tool for document analysis so that it can be organized into categories or in Google-speak, stacks – and lets you search for words within the text.
I have a lot of documents to organize. To make digital copies stored and accessible, I use Google Drive, Evernote, and a PDF generation app called Tiny Scanner.It’s not a good solution, so when Google released a document scanning / organizing app, I thought I would see this Stack. About what
First of all, note: Stack is currently only available on Android devices and can only be installed using a personal Gmail account, not a Google Workplace (formerly G Suite) account. Your Google Drive account includes Workspace accounts.This kind of confusion isn’t new to anyone dealing with juggling multiple Google accounts.
When you open a stack for the first time, you will see a set of icons representing the different stacks, including Bills, Banking, House, IDs, Medical, Receipts, and Starred. If nothing meets your needs, you can click on the links. Edit at the top right and you will see other stacks related to taxes, immigration, vehicles, and other categories that you can add to your top-level stack. Yes, by tapping on the plus button.
At the bottom of the main screen are two tabs: “Home” (the default screen where you can view your stacks) and “All Documents” (where you can view and search for saved documents. Keep it all yours without having “stack” organization).
To start adding documents, press the plus sign on the home screen. You have three ways to populate a stack:
- PDF: Extract existing PDF files from your Google Drive account or from your device.
- Gallery: Find recently taken pictures on your device.
- Camera: Use your device’s camera to scan documents.
I have a lot of documents sitting in Google Drive, so I thought of starting with the PDF method to import the documents. I was disappointed to find that I was only able to import one document at a time, meaning it took me a very long time to import my entire PDF history.
The gallery method was also extremely useless as it only gave me about a month and a half to access the photos on my device.
On the other hand, using my phone’s camera to scan documents from within Stack works fine.The documents are previewed before saving, and you can color, crop and rotate them if needed. You can also add more pages so that you have more than one document.
No matter how I import my documents, I am impressed with the integration of Stack them.The app generates the title of the document from its content, separates important details like the date and amount of purchase, and uses the content to decide which pile should be. For example, it correctly identifies a document containing information about the CDC. The v-safe app is from the CDC and placed it in the Medical stack, and when I took a picture of the crumpled store receipt, it chose the retailer name and The purchase amount came out without any problems and put the papers in my pile of receipts.
You don’t have to be up to the app to decide which piles of documents will be in, you can assign documents to stacks by going to the tabs. “All Documents” then select the document in question. The stack is shown below the image and you can add or remove them. And yes, you can assign a single document to more than one stack if you want.For example, I put CDC documents in both the medical stack and the starred stack.
What you can’t do is create a substack. (Or subfolders) within a stack, you can’t tag documents either. For example, if you are collecting a large number of medical documents from different doctors, you must put them all on the Medical stack and find the ones you need or create separate piles for each doctor. Hopefully, as this trial app works, some additional organizational tools will be added.
On the other hand, a search (by going to “All Documents”) will always find what you need. As expected from the Google app, Search works very well. Most of my searches have been successful in finding text in PDF documents.
If you go to the settings page (Which can be accessed from your personal icon) You can have the app automatically import images, any documents you have taken with your device. You can also automatically save all your PDFs to your Google Drive. (Which is a great idea, as Stack is experimental and can easily end up in Google Graveyard) and if you decide Stack is not for you, you can export all existing documents to your drive and Delete all of your data from your stack.
Privacy and Security
As the description of the Google app, “Stack uses advanced security technology and Google sign-in to protect your documents.” You can also use face lock or fingerprint to access the app, which is an idea. Great if you are planning to include sensitive documentation.
So, is the stack a viable option for those of us trying to keep up with the papers in life? As far as I’m concerned, it’s not quite there yet – because it’s still in the early stages of development, and because I’m a little cynical about Google’s tendency to abandon the experiment, I’m not ready to trust all of my important documents stacked up. … but it has a lot of potential and I will keep my eyes on it.