First, Google created the scanner directly in Drive, instead of choosing a separate application. Let's take a closer look at which approach is best and which scanner application should you prefer over the other.
1. How to scan
As the scanner is part of the Google Drive app, you will need to open Drive and click on the "+" icon to begin. There is however a widget that you can place on the home screen.
On the other hand, the camera will automatically launch into Office Lens when you open the application. It's a click away and it works much faster.
2. Options for analysis
It is there that things start to differ considerably. Microsoft Office Lens takes a more professional approach and offers 4 different options: whiteboard, document, business card and photo. Choosing one will change the brightness and contrast settings to remove glare and better target things. Each explanation, giving the user more control over the scanning options.
Google Drive Scan also offers scanning options, but they are different. Photo, Portrait, Square and Manuel. Personally, I appreciate Office Lens's approach better: depending on the type of document I'm scanning, the application will apply the settings automatically. Has more sense.
For example, when you scan a whiteboard, there is a risk of glare. Office Lens handles it beautifully by removing shadows, reflections and turning off the flash.
3. Multipage Scans
Office Lens automatically detects edges. There is a bulk mode option on the top right to scan multiple pages at once.
Once you enable it, you can scan one page after the other without having to navigate between the editing options. Once you have finished scanning all the pages, press the right circular scan option with a number indicating the number of scans performed.
Just tap the orange checkmark option to create a PDF file with all the analyzes perfectly organized by page. You will select the PDF option in the following screen.
Drive Scan could not identify the corners, which resulted in unnecessary cropping. But there was an option to adjust it manually. To return to multipage scanning, a "+" icon appears to scan another page. However, you must press it repeatedly to return to scan mode.
Office Lens is much faster, because once bulk mode is selected, you can simply scan one page after the other. Drive Scan also creates a PDF file like Office Lens, and in both applications, each document is saved to a new page.
4. Editing options
Scanning documents is not the only option available to you in Office Lens. When scanning is complete, you can choose to add text, annotate, rotate the image, and change the scan type.
They are very easy to use and work really well. Useful for highlighting important text or annotating important parts of the document.
Unfortunately, Google Drive Scan is missing all these useful and essential features. Instead, there are image enhancement features, such as the ability to turn pages in black and white or to use colors.
Another thing I noticed is that each scan is time stamped in Drive Scan. Fortunately, there is an option to remove the timestamp and the device watermark in the settings.
When Drive Scan has image enhancement options, Office Lens has resolution options. You can go from 2.1M in 1920x1080p to 12M in 4000x3000p. All screenshots in this guide were taken at option 3.1M, so there is still a lot to do.
5. Sharing options and OCR
It goes without saying that Office Lens and Drive Scan both prefer their own ecosystem. Office Lens can save scans in the Gallery, as a PDF file, in the OneNote note-taking application, as a Word and PowerPoint file, or save them in the cloud with the help of OneDrive . All Microsoft Office applications.
Notice the Immersive Reader option? It's pretty cool. You see, Office Lens has powerful OCR and voice synthesis features, which means that the application can read the scanned text for you. You can manage the volume as well as the flow, if you are a fast listener. It was 100% accurate in my tests, which is almost magical!
Google Drive Scan will simply create a PDF file and upload it to the Drive folder of your choice. You will need a third-party PDF editor, such as Xodo, to edit or mark the PDF file. If Office Lens can save the scanned document directly in one or more Office 365 formats, you must open the saved file manually in the Google Docs or Sheets application. After that, you can edit the document. Again, other unnecessary steps are involved.
On the positive side, once the PDF file is saved to Google Drive, you can search for the printed text using Universal Drive Search. Thus, OCR works in Google Drive, but there is no voice synthesis feature.
And the winner is …
Office Lens wins hands down. Extremely easy and fast to use, it comes with a robust set of editing options, easily detects various documents such as maps, a whiteboard, etc., and you can save it in a number of formats for different Office applications. Even if you do not use Microsoft Office, there is still the option Gallery and PDF.
Drive Scan seems to be an afterthought integrated into Google Drive rather than a full-fledged scanning application. Useful for quick and casual scans, but that's where it can go.
Both are free and available on Android and iOS.
Want to know more about Google Drive Scan and how it works with different apps? Click on the link below to find out more.