Google Photos update proves Pixel was right on cameras all along

Eric Abent - Sep 30, 2020, 2:28pm CDT
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Google Photos update proves Pixel was right on cameras all along

In addition to all of the device announcements Google made today, the company also revealed that the Google Photos app for Android is getting a brand new photo editor. The new features shipping along with this update seem to be geared toward making it easier for anyone to edit, whether they don’t have a ton of experience editing photos or they’re looking to make some specific edits manually. In addition, Google also detailed a new feature called Portrait Light that will be heading to Pixel devices in the future, starting with the new phones that were revealed today.

Google Photos’ new photo editing tools seem to tap into the suggestions that the app already makes for things like brightening and rotating. When this update has been applied, users will find a new tab in the editor that will use machine learning to analyze the photo and surface suggestions on how to edit it.

“These suggestions help you get stunning results in just one tap, by intelligently applying features like brightness, contrast and portrait effects,” Google wrote on its blog today. At first, Google says that we’ll see features like Enhance and Color Pop show up in these suggestions, but as time goes on, Google will be adding additional ones as well.

There’s something in this update for those who want more precise control over their photo edits as well. The Photo Editor now has a new layout that allows you to scroll through the app’s editing tools and adjust settings on the fly, so if you’ve got the photo editing know-how, this should help you make changes quicker.

Finally, we’ve got the introduction of Portrait Light, which is appearing first on the Pixel 4a (5G) and the Pixel 5. With this feature, the app employs machine learning to let you change the lighting on faces both in portraits and regular photos after they’ve been taken. It’s definitely an interesting feature, but for now at least, it’s the sole domain of Pixel users, as Google says it will be shipping out on more Pixel devices soon.

These editing tools play directly into Google’s software-first approach to cameras and smartphone photography. As smartphone makers have been packing camera arrays with more and more sensors, Google has often seemed like the odd one out with its Pixel devices, but being able to push an update like this to phones across the Android ecosystem is a big thing indeed. Watch for this update to land in Google Photos for Android beginning today.


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