Introducing Picscribe for Android

Picscribe screens

Here is a scenario: You are on a trip and taking a bunch of pictures. Usually there is some context to those pictures that you are trying to capture (what a building is for example or what this dish or drink is that you ate that day and if you liked it or not). While taking pictures is easy with our smartphones today, capturing your thoughts at the moment is much harder and so far I hadn’t found a good way of doing that. If you use a photo service like Flickr or Google Plus/Picasa, you can annotate your albums, but that usually happens much later and is a pain in the ass. Otherwise you have hard-drives full of photos that sit in some folder based albums and often elicit the “Wait, what was this?” face.


To solve this problem, last week I released Picscribe, a photo notes app available now on the Google Play Store for Android (iOS coming soon). Picscribe is a pretty simple app: It lets you take any photo in your phone and add a comment right into the EXIF metadata of the photo itself. Any comments you write are available in the photo forever and not in some proprietary database. The app itself is designed with the latest Android design guidelines in mind and while it took quite a bit of time and effort to get the animations working the way I wanted them to, I think the final result is pretty great :).

I have a bunch of features lined up for future iterations of the app (of course), but I am pretty proud of where the app is today already. If you have an Android phone or a tablet, get the app from Google Play (its FREE!) and let me know if you have any feedback or comments.

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on a variety of topics including Machine Learning, Affective Computing, and Blockchain applications. Arpit has also worked extensively on Android and iOS applications, Virtual Reality apps as well as with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and Ruby on Rails. He also spent a couple of years in the User Experience team as a Creative Technologist.

11 thoughts on “Introducing Picscribe for Android”

  1. Hi
    This is really a great feature, however juste after having taken a picture, it is synchronized rather quickly to some cloud. The picscribe annotation process comes after such synchronisation which doubles the picture saving in the cloud. Perhaps I have missed something, but I think this is a/the good technic.


    1. Hi there,
      Hm. I am not sure which cloud service this is. I have tried Dropbox and Google+ photos and they dont seem to have the issue. The application modifies the original file and most cloud services are (or should be) smart enough to handle file changes, but this one you mention may not be.


  2. Hi. Under which EXIF tag is the comment stored? I’m trying to use an EXIF reader program to export the EXIF data from several photos to an Excel spreadsheet, but I can’t find the comments under any of the standard EXIF tags.



      1. Hi.
        How do I show the UserComment tag outside the app (in a windows program for example)? I can’t seem to find the UserComment tag. Thanks


  3. Hi,
    I can’t seem to find the UserComment tag outside your app. How do I show (in a windows program for example) the UserComment tag that I added in PICSCRIBE?


  4. Hi! Thank you for sharing this solution, it is a very useful app to me, I really needed to browse my pictures with my comments just below.
    But I need to browse them in the same way also on Windows 7, but I cannot find a simple viewer for that.
    Windows do not show the UserComment field, but only the Microsoft.Comment field.
    A nice tool is “PhotoComment”, but it works on XP only.
    So, which viewer do you use/suggest to browse the pictures on Windows?


    1. The best Window tools to show the file:comment below or at the bottom of the pictures (e.g. in a dlideshow) are XnView and IrfanView. In XnView it is easy to set up via Settings. It is a bit trickier in IrfanView where you need to enter code. Let me know if you need help.


  5. This is a much needed tool, but it needs some improvements. The comment is not stored in the EXIF header, but rather in the file:comment field (as used by Faststone). I have thousands of images with such comments written in Danish. Faststone displays the Danish characters correctly, but Picscribe does not. It needs to use ISO 8859-1 to encode and decode the comments.

    In addition, it would be nice if the comments could be displayed over the bottom of the picture without hiding it. Font, background color and opacity should be configurable. That would make Picscribe truly great.

    The search feature is fantastic. (I have only found one other tool that can search in comments: Scott’s JPEG Commenter for Windows.)


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