There has been a lot of attention given to smartphone cameras these days but while the hardware does have major importance, the software can also help or mar the overall experience. Pair great hardware with a barely usable camera app and you’re phone is sure to get ignored. And while most camera apps on high-end phones do well, you don’t need an expensive phone to have a decent camera app. Not if you download the free for all Google Camera app, which has just learned a few new tricks in version 4.4 of the app.
Selfies may be an important facet of modern smartphone use, but not all phones were made to cater to the selfie-loving crowd. That is, not all smartphones have an LED flash on their faces. But rather than just rely on sheer luck during the night, some camera apps employ a screen flash to brighten things up a bit. And now so does the Google Camera app.
It’s not perfect, mind you. It simply fills the screen with an flat off-white color to mimic the effect of a flash. It’s not going to be bright enough to replace the real thing, but it’s so much better than smiling at the dark.
A new, unrevealed feature is the double-tap to zoom. A single tap usually changes the focus to that area but if you tap twice in quick succession, the camera app will zoom up to 50% instantly. Quickly double tap again to zoom out. Sadly, those numbers seem to be fixed and there’s no way to customize that.
Google Camera app version 4.4 is now up on Google Play Store and should be rolling out to those that have it installed. While the latest version is now available outside of Android O preview, it requires at least Android version 7.1. If you’re in a rush, however, you can always download the signed APK from APK Mirror and sideload it yourself. The usual security disclaimers apply.