Pixel 7's Photo Unblur Fixes Your Old And Pixelated Photos

The newly announced Google Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro bring minor hardware amendments over the previous-generation Pixel smartphones. There are, however, some notable software improvements to back up the meager hardware upgrade. Among these, the phones have received a new Photo Unblur feature that will let you improve the quality of any old photo stored in your Google Photos.

Google introduced a feature called Face Unblur with the Pixel 6 series in 2021. The feature relies on Google's artificial intelligence prowess to combine images from two rear cameras at once to ensure faces are captured sharply, irrespective of the movement in the frame. Photo Unblur also leverages Google's AI and builds upon Face Blur. However, it works primarily for pictures that have already been taken instead of those taken in real time. That means you can simply choose an old photo from your Google Photos library — even if it was taken with another camera or phone.

Using AI to fix older photos

Since Photo Unblur works on older photos, it will have to be manually toggled. Google does not explicitly reveal if the feature allows users to manipulate the intensity of the effect to prevent images from looking unreal or animated. In some of the photos shared by Google, we see some oil painting effects. Hopefully, these will be improved with on-device and on-the-cloud machine learning algorithms.

Photo Unblur is initially exclusive to the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro, but Google is likely to bring this feature to all devices with Google Photos — although one can expect it to be limited to Google's suite of paid features in the Photos app. Photo Unblur's dependence on a Tensor chip to power its features might suggest it works best on devices with Google's custom hardware. We will have to wait until the feature formally releases for other devices before we know more.