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Google Photos just got a shiny new ML-powered editor


Google’s short Launch Night In event is already over, but that doesn’t mean that the company is out of things to announce. In a blog post, the Google Photos team has shared that it’s rolling out a sleek new machine-learning powered editor to the Android app today.

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Left: New editor. Right: Old editor.

The icon-based strip of sections at the bottom is gone, making way for a carousel of text-based editing options that mimic most of the old functionality — you can still access the cropping tool, filters, and adjustments. The latter are arranged differently now. Instead of a vertical list of options for exposure, contrast, whites, etc., you’ll now find a horizontally scrolling carousel of options with a more granularly adjustable slider for each — that’ll make adjustments much more precise.

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The editor has received a new section that’s inspired by the editing tips Photos occasionally gives you in toasts when you view images. They consist of image-based recommendations, such as known tools like color pop, black and white portrait, and a more generic “enhance” feature (probably replacing the “auto” function of old). These enhancements are machine learning based.

Pixel users can also look forward to an extra goodie: Portrait Light. It’s an ML-powered feature that gives you more control over lighting in portraits, letting you choose the position of the light source after the fact. If that’s too much, you can also just change the brightness and exposure of your subject’s face. Portrait Lights can be applied to regular photos not captured in Portrait mode, too. This feature is a Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 exclusive, but will be available on more Pixel phones “soon.”

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The rest of the goodies are rolling out to all Android users starting today, and I would expect a server-side change due to the wording.

The redesign was initially uncovered in a leak back in August, courtesy of app sleuth Jane Manchun Wong.

Google Photos
Google Photos

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