Tag Archives: photos

Making Pixel more helpful with the first Pixel feature drop

Your phone should get better over time. Your Pixel automatically updates regularly with fixes and improvements. Now, your Pixel will also get bigger updates in new Pixel feature drops.  Our first one, coming this month, includes a new way to capture portraits, easier Duo calls and automatic call screening. 

More photo controls

Now, you can turn a photo into a portrait on Pixel by blurring the background post-snap. So whether you took the photo years ago, or you forgot to turn on portrait mode, you can easily give each picture an artistic look with Portrait Blur in Google Photos. 


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Put an end to robocalls

With our latest update to Call Screen on Pixel 4 in the US, the Google Assistant now helps you automatically screen unknown callers and filter out detected robocalls before your phone ever rings, so you’re not interrupted by them. And when it’s not a robocall, your phone rings a few moments later with helpful context about who is calling and why. Call Screen works on your device and does not use Wi-Fi or data, which makes the screening fast and the content private to you.


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Improved video calls on Duo 

Video calls are better on Pixel 4 with new Duo features that let you focus on conversations instead of logistics. Auto-framing keeps your face centered during your Duo video calls, even as you move around, thanks to Pixel 4’s wide-angle lens. And if another person joins you in the shot, the camera automatically adjusts to keep both of you in the frame.


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Now, the playback on your Duo calls is even smoother, too. When a bad connection leads to spotty audio, a machine learning model on your Pixel 4 predicts the likely next sound and helps you to keep the conversation going with minimum disruptions. Pixel 4’s Smooth Display also reduces choppiness on your video feed, refreshing up to 90 times a second.

When you make Duo video calls on Pixel 2, 3 and 4, you can now apply a portrait filter as well. You’ll look sharper against the gentle blur of your background, while the busy office or messy bedroom behind you goes out of focus.


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With the latest update to Pixel 4, you'll also get amazingly fast accuracy in Google Maps with improved on-device computing for much better location quality. 

More helpful features for more Pixels

In addition to new features for Pixel 4, we’re also bringing new apps and features to Pixel 2, 3 and 3a:

  • The Recorder app is now available on older generations of Pixel.
  • Pixel 3 and 3a users will get Live Caption. 
  • Digital Wellbeing is getting updates too. Focus mode is rolling out to help you stay productive and minimize distractions by pausing apps you've selected in a single tap. You can now set an automatic schedule, take a short break or end Focus mode early without disrupting your schedule.
  • Flip to Shhh will also join the Digital Wellbeing features on Pixel 2 and 2XL.
  • If you use a Pixel 4 in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and Australia, you’ll soon get the new Google Assistant (English only), which is even faster and more helpful.

A more efficient phone

In addition to these new experiences, all Pixel devices will also receive an update to its memory management in the feature drop. With this new enhancement, your phone proactively compresses cached applications so that users can run multiple applications at the same time -- like games, streaming content and more.


Pixel phones have always received monthly updates to improve performance and make your device safe. Now, feature drops will bring more helpful and fun features to users on a regular basis to continue to make your Pixel better than ever. 


These features are already rolling out, and will hit Pixel devices in the coming weeks. To get the new features, update to the latest version of Android and go to the Play Store to start downloading your updated apps.


Source: Google LatLong


Now it’s easier to share everyday moments in Google Photos

Whenever I’m capturing memories, my first thought is to share them with my best friend, who loves seeing photos of my newest plants, or my parents, who always want shots of my latest culinary adventure. Google Photos’ live albums, shared libraries, and shared albums make sharing lots of photos simple, and starting today, we’re also making it easier to share the individual, everyday moments through Google Photos. 


You’ve always been able to share individual photos through the app by creating an album for a single photo and sharing the link. But we’ve heard from some of you that this could be a simpler experience, so now when you share one-off photos and videos, you’ll have the option to add them to an ongoing, private conversation in the app. This gives you one place to find the moments you’ve shared with your friends and family and keep the conversation going. For me, this means I can show my mom and dad how my pumpkin pie turned out in just a few taps.


Direct Sharing in Photos

You can like photos or comment in the conversation, and you can easily save these photos or videos to your own gallery. This feature isn’t designed to replace the chat apps you already use, but we do hope it improves sharing memories with your friends and family in Google Photos. 


This is gradually rolling out over the next week and, as always, you can share these photos with your friends and family across all platforms—Android, iOS and the web—without any loss in image quality from the photos you backed up. 


Lucky for my mom and dad, I’ll be cooking up lots of treats for the holidays and now they’ll get all the pictures in one place.


Relive your best memories with new features from Google Photos

As a mom of three, I take a lot of photos. This past weekend alone I took 280 photos and videos—and any parent can empathize with trying to get all kids to look at the camera, let alone smile, at the same time. With this many photos from everyday life, my Google Photos library is full of moments—many worth remembering—but sifting through all of these photos can be hard. To address this, we came up with a few new ways for you to get more out of Google Photos and relive the moments that matter.


A stroll down memory lane, right from the app


Certain points in the year make me extra nostalgic—birthdays, trips and holidays most of all—so I pull out my phone to look at old photos. You lose the warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling when you have to scroll through hundreds of duplicate photos, so we’re putting your memories front and center in Google Photos.


Starting today, you’ll see photos and videos from previous years at the top of your gallery in a new feature we’re calling Memories. While you might recognize this stories format from social media, these memories are your personal media, privately presented to you so you can sit back and enjoy some of your best moments. 


Memories_Photos

We’re using machine learning to curate what appears in Memories, so you don’t have to parse through many duplicate shots, and you can instead reflect on the best ones, where the photos have good quality and all the kids are smiling. We understand that you might not want to revisit all of your memories, so you’ll be able to hide certain people or time periods, and you have the option to turn this feature off entirely.


Sometimes, when you’re looking back, you know exactly what photo you’re looking for and our search in Google Photos makes it easy to find specific photos. If you want to find photos of your dad’s birthday you can just search his name and “birthday” to find all the relevant shots.  But what about those photos where you don’t remember the exact date or occasion? To make it easy to find photos or screenshots that contain text—like a recipe—you can now search by the text in your photos. When you feel nostalgic for home cooking you can just search “carrot cake” and find your mom’s recipe right away. 


Streamlined sharing with the people who matter


One of the best parts of revisiting your memories is sharing them with the people who made those moments special. In the coming months, it’ll be even easier to send photos directly to your friends or family within the app. Those photos will now be added to an ongoing, private conversation so there’s one place to find the photos you’ve shared with each other and keep the conversation going. And as always, photos you share in Google Photos are the same quality as the photos you back up and you can easily save photos shared with you to your library.


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Off of your phone and into your home


Decorating your home with printed photos serves as a daily reminder of life's meaningful moments--big and small. You can already use Google Photos to quickly find and make your memories into a photo book. Now, you can use the same time-saving magic to print individual photos.


Starting today, you can order 4x6 photo prints directly from Google Photos and pick them up same day at CVS Pharmacy or Walmart, at over 11,000 locations with print centers across the U.S. Since your photos are automatically organized and searchable in Google Photos, you can order prints in just a few easy steps. 


Photo prints

To brighten up any room with some of your favorite memories, like your summer vacation or your daughter’s Halloween costume last year—you can now also order canvas prints from Google Photos in the U.S., and they’ll be delivered straight to your home. We’ll also give you suggestions for the best photos to print on canvas. Canvas prints start at $19.99 and come in three different sizes, 8x8, 12x14, and 16x20, so they work for all types of spaces. You can put them on a shelf, prop them up at your desk, or hang them in your living room for everyone to see.


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With all of these new features, you can relive your best memories, share them with the people that matter, and get them off of your phone and into your home.

Gallery Go: a fast, helpful way to organize your photos offline

Today, at Google for Nigeria we introduced Gallery Go: a photo gallery, designed to work offline, that uses machine learning to automatically organize and make your photos look their best. Gallery Go helps first time smartphone owners easily find, edit, and manage photos, without the need for access to high-speed internet or cloud backup.


Your memories, automatically organized

Gallery Go automatically organizes your photos by the people and things you take photos of, so you can easily find your favorite selfie, remember where you had the best puff puff, and keep track of important documents. You don’t have to manually label your photos and all these features run on your phone, without using your data. You can create folders to organize your photos, and Gallery Go works with SD cards, so you can easily copy them from your phone.


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Simple-to-use editing tools

With Gallery Go it's easy to get great looking photos in just a few taps. Use auto enhance—one of my favorite editing tools in Google Photos—for instant fixes. You can also choose from a variety of filters to get a new look, and easily rotate and crop, so your photo looks just right.


Gallery Go_editing

Light and offline by design 

Gallery Go was designed to work offline, to help you manage your photos using less data. And at just 10 MB, the app won't slow down your phone and leaves space to store more memories. 


Gallery Go is available in the Play Store for devices running Android 8.1 (Oreo) or higher. While the app is available worldwide, some features such as organizing photos by people aren’t available in all countries. For those of you who joined us at Google for Nigeria, Gallery Go will come pre-installed as the gallery app on the Itel S15 and select A55 devices beginning next month.


Changing how Google Drive and Google Photos work together

Many of you store your photos and videos on both Google Drive and Google Photos, which keeps them safe and easy to access. We’ve heard feedback that the connection between these services is confusing, so next month, we’re making some changes to simplify the experience across Drive and Photos.

Changes to automatic sync between Google Drive and Google Photos

Starting in July, new photos and videos from Drive won’t automatically show in Photos. Similarly, new photos and videos in Photos will not be added to the Photos folder in Drive. Photos and videos you delete in Drive will not be removed from Photos. Similarly, items you delete in Photos will not be removed from Drive. This change is designed to help prevent accidental deletion of items across products.

 New “Upload from Drive” feature in Google Photos

We’ve heard that many of you would like more granular control when copying photos and videos from Drive into Photos. So we’re bringing a new feature to photos.google.com called “Upload from Drive,” which lets you manually choose photos and videos from Drive, including “Shared with Me” items, to import into Photos. Once copied, these items are not connected between the two products. Since photos and videos will no longer sync across both products, items copied in Original Quality will count towards your storage quota in both Drive and Photos.

 Backup and Sync for Windows and Mac will continue to work

You’ll still be able to use Backup and Sync on Windows or macOS to upload to both services in High Quality or Original Quality. As before, items uploaded in High Quality won’t count against your account storage quota, and items uploaded using Backup and Sync in Original Quality to both services will count only once towards your quota.

 Your existing photos and videos will stay in Google Drive and Google Photos

Any photos or videos from Drive in Photos that you have uploaded prior to this change will remain in Photos. If you have a “Google Photos” folder in Drive, it will remain in Drive, but will no longer update automatically.

 Our goal with these changes is to simplify some features that caused confusion for our users, based on feedback and our own research. We’ll continue to look for more ways to help support Drive and Photos users going forward.

 If you want to take a closer look at these new changes, please check out our guide.

Source: Drive


The era of the camera: Google Lens, one year in

THE CAMERA: IT’S NOT JUST FOR SELFIES & SUNSETS

My most recent camera roll runs the gamut from the sublime to the mundane:  

There is, of course, the vacation beach pic, the kid’s winter recital, and the one--or ten--obligatory goofy selfie(s). But there’s also the book that caught my eye at a friend’s place, the screenshot of an insightful tweet and the tracking number on a package.

As our phones go everywhere with us, and storage becomes cheaper, we’re taking more photos of more types of things. We’re of course capturing sunsets and selfies, but people say 10 to 15 percent of the pictures being taken are of practical things like receipts and shopping lists.

To me, using our cameras to help us with our day-to-day activities makes sense at a fundamental human level. We are visual beings—by some estimates, 30 percent of the neurons in the cortex of our brain are for vision. Every waking moment, we rely on our vision to make sense of our surroundings, remember all sorts of information, and explore the world around us.  

The way we use our cameras is not the only thing that’s changing: the tech behind our  cameras is evolving too. As hardware, software, and AI continue to advance, I believe the camera will go well beyond taking photos—it will help you search what you see, browse the world around you, and get things done.

That’s why we started Google Lens last year as a first step in this journey. Last week, we launched a redesigned Lens experience across Android and iOS, and brought it to iOS usersvia the Google app.

I’ve spent the last decade leading teams that build products which use AI to help people in their daily lives, through Search, Assistant and now Google Lens. I see the camera opening up a whole new set of opportunities for information discovery and assistance. Here are just a few that we’re addressing with Lens:

GOOGLE LENS: SEARCH WHAT YOU SEE

Some things are really hard to describe with words. How would you describe the dog below if you wanted to know its breed? My son suggested, “Super cute, tan fur, with a white patch.” 🙄

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With Lens, your camera can do the work for you, turning what you see into your search query.

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So how does Lens turn the pixels in your camera stream into a card describing a Shiba Inu?

The answer, as you may have guessed, is machine learning and computer vision. But a machine learning algorithm is only as good as the data that it learns from. That’s why Lens leverages the hundreds of millions of queries in Image Search for “Shibu Inu” along with the thousands of images that are returned for each one to provide the basis for training its algorithms.

shibu search

Next, Lens uses TensorFlow—Google’s open source machine learning framework—to connect the dog images you see above to the words “Shibu Inu” and “dog.”

Finally, we connect those labels to Google's Knowledge Graph, with its tens of billions of facts on everything from pop stars to puppy breeds. This helps us understand that a Shiba Inu is a breed of dog.

Of course, Lens doesn’t always get it right:

lens gourd

Why does this happen? Oftentimes, what we see in our day-to-day lives looks fairly different than the images on the web used to train computer vision models. We point our cameras from different angles, at various locations, and under different types of lighting. And the subjects of these photos don’t always stay still. Neither do their photographers. This trips Lens up.

We’re starting to address this by training the algorithms with more pictures that look like they were taken with smartphone cameras.

This is just one of the many hard computer science problems we will need to solve. Just like with speech recognition, we’re starting small, but pushing on fundamental research and investing in richer training data.

TEACHING THE CAMERA TO READ

As we just saw, sometimes the things we're interested in are hard to put into words. But there are other times when words are precisely the thing we’re interested in. We want to look up a dish we see on a menu, save an inspirational quote we see written on a wall, or remember a phone number. What if you could easily copy and paste text like this from the real world to your phone?

To make this possible, we’ve given Lens the ability to read and let you take action with the words you see. For example, you can point your phone at a business card and add it to your contacts, or copy ingredients from a recipe and paste them into your shopping list.

lens recipe

To teach Lens to read, we developed an optical character recognition (OCR) engine and combined that with our understanding of language from search and the Knowledge Graph. We train the machine learning algorithms using different characters, languages and fonts, drawing on sources like Google Books scans.

Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish between similar looking characters like the letter “o” and zero. To do this, Lens uses language and spell-correction models from Google Search to better understand what a character or word most likely is—just like how Search knows to correct “bannana” to “banana,” Lens can guess “c00kie” is likely meant to be “cookie”—unless you're a l33t h4ck3r from the 90s, of course.

We use this OCR engine for other uses too like reading product labels. Lens can now identify over 1 billion products from our Google Shopping catalog—four times the number it covered at launch.

THE CAMERA AS A TOOL FOR CURIOSITY

When you’re looking to identify a cute puppy or save a recipe, you know what you want to search for or do. But sometimes we're not after answers or actions—we're looking for ideas, like shoes or jewelry in a certain style.

Now, style is even harder to put into words. That’s why we think the camera—a visual input—can be powerful here.

With the style search feature in Lens you can point your camera at outfits and home decor to get suggestions of items that are stylistically similar. So, for example, if you see a lamp you like at a friend’s place, Lens can show you similar designs, along with useful information like product reviews.

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THE ERA OF THE CAMERA

A decade ago, I started at Google as a bright-eyed product manager enamored with the potential of visual search. But the tech simply wasn’t there. Fast forward to today and things are starting to change. Machine learning and computational photography techniques allow the Pixel 3 to capture great photos both day and night. Deep learning algorithms show promise in detecting signs of diabetic retinopathy from retinal photographs. Computer vision is now starting to let our devices understand the world and the things in it far more accurately.

Looking ahead, I believe that we are entering a new phase of computing: an era of the camera, if you will. It’s all coming together at once—a breathtaking pace of progress in AI and machine learning; cheaper and more powerful hardware thanks to the scale of mobile phones; and billions of people using their cameras to bookmark life’s moments, big and small.

As computers start to see like we do, the camera will become a powerful and intuitive interface to the world around us; an AI viewfinder that puts the answers right where the questions are—overlaying directions right on the streets we’re walking down, highlighting the products we’re looking for on store shelves, or instantly translating any word in front of us in a foreign city. We’ll be able to pay our bills, feed our parking meters, and learn more about virtually anything around us, simply by pointing the camera.

In short, the camera can give us all superhuman vision.

Live albums—a new way to share that’s always up to date

Many of us share the same photos with the same people over and over, whether it’s photos of your children to their grandparents, or cute pics of your pup to your best friend. Every time, we have to find the photos, select the ones we want to share and send them to the right people. And that’s if we even remember to share them at all.

That’s why we made live albums, a new and easy way to share more of your memories from Google Photos. You can turn any album into a live album. Just choose the people (and pets) you want to see, and Google Photos will automatically add photos of them to your album as you take them. Then, you can share your album with family and friends so they can be a part of special moments as they happen—no manual updates needed. Live albums are rolling out now in a number of countries on Android, iOS and the web.

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A better photo frame that's always up to date 

Digital photo frames have been around for years, but they are hard to set up, the photos get old fast, and you can’t pull up a specific memory when you want it. Now, there’s a new and easier way to enjoy more of your memories at home with Google Photos on the new Google Home Hub.

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You don’t need a memory card or any gear to turn your display into a photo frame, and with live albums, you and your loved ones will always have the latest photos front and center. Plus you can say things like “Hey Google, show my pictures from Chicago” and they’ll pop up on the display. Google Home Hub also adjusts the screen brightness and color temperature based on its surroundings, so your photos fit more naturally into your space.

And, you can turn your Pixel 3 into the same type of photo frame with the new Pixel Stand, bringing more of your memories into your home, office, or wherever you’re wirelessly charging your phone.

Top Shot and depth editing

With Google Photos, we're also making it faster and easier to capture the perfect photo and give you editing tools to make your portraits pop.

Top Shot on Pixel 3 makes sure you always get the best shot—you know, the selfie where everyone actually has their eyes open. When you take a motion photo, Top Shot automatically captures alternate shots in HDR+, then recommends the best one—even if it’s not exactly when you hit the shutter. You can view the recommendation in your Google Photos app and scroll back and forth to see all the other frames. When you're ready, hit save.

Google Photos can also help you create the perfect portrait without fancy camera equipment or lots of time spent editing. With our new depth editor, you can adjust the background blur and change the focus of your portrait photos in just a few taps. You can also make the subject of your photo pop by leaving them in color, while changing the background to black and white.

depth editor

These new editing features will be available on Pixel 3 and other phones that support portrait photos including Pixel 2 and Motorola phones such as the Moto G6.

With these updates to Google Photos, you can spend less time editing and sharing memories, and more time enjoying them.

Upgrading your paid storage with Google One

Since introducing Google Photos, we’ve aspired to be the home for all of your photos, helping you bring together a lifetime of memories in one place.


We offer two options to back up your photos and videos: original quality and high quality. Starting today in the U.S., those of you who back up in original quality and pay for expanded storage will be upgraded to Google One. For the same price or in some cases less, you’ll now have extra space and additional benefits—like 24/7 support from Google experts—to help you get more out of Google. There are no changes to our high quality backup option.

 

Check out what backup plan you’re currently using and, if you’d like to upgrade to Google One, visit the Google One website. Google One is rolling out to more countries over the next few weeks.

One-tap actions and more places to experience Google Photos

Three years ago, we introduced Google Photos as a home for all of your pictures and videos, organized and brought to life. Today, we’re announcing a few new ways you can get even more out of your favorite memories.

Take action on your photos, right as you view them

People look at 5 billion pictures in Google Photos every day, but there’s more to do with your photos than just view them. You might want to share a photo with a friend, brighten a dark picture, or hide a screenshot from your library in just a few taps.

Today, you’ll start to see a range of suggested actions show up on your photos right as you’re viewing them, such as the option to brighten, share, rotate or archive a picture. These suggested actions are powered by machine learning, which means you only see them on relevant photos. You can easily tap the suggestions to complete the action.

See your photos in a new light

Starting today, you may see a new photo creation that plays with pops of color. In these creations, we use AI to detect the subject of your photo and leave them in color—including their clothing and whatever they're holding—while the background is set to black and white. You'll see these AI-powered creations in the Assistant tab of Google Photos.

color pop

As mentioned in the keynote at I/O, our annual developer conference, we’re also working on the ability for you to change black-and-white shots into color in just a tap.  


Experience Google Photos in more places

People interact with their photos across different apps and devices. As we work to make it easier for you to do more with the photos you take, we also want to make sure these moments of convenience extend beyond the Google Photos app and web experience. Maybe you’d like to enjoy your photos through a connected photo frame in your living room or save the funny moments from a photo booth. We think it should be easy for you to safely access and organize those photos, too.


That’s why we’re introducing a new Google Photos partner program that gives developers the tools to support Google Photos in their products, so people can choose to access their photos whenever they need them. Look for apps and devices that work with Google Photos in the coming months.


Three years in, and we’re as excited as ever about making Google Photos the easiest, fastest and most useful home for a lifetime of photos and videos. We look forward to bringing you more helpful ways to experience those memories.

Puparazzi alert: five tips for your pet photos

If you’re a pet owner, you probably live every day like it’s National Pet Day. But to honor the holiday today, we’ve put together a few pet-tential ways you can celebrate them with Google Photos:

1. A photo book of your pet, created just for you

Starting this week, if you take a lot of photos of your cat or dog, the Google Photos app may automatically create a photo book starring your pet. We use machine learning to save you time by selecting the best photos of your four-legged friend and laying them out in a photo book. For those of you in the U.S. or Canada, all you have to do is decide if you want a hardcover or softcover book, and then order.

cat photo book

2. Identify popular breeds with Google Lens
Recently, we made Google Lens preview available in Google Photos across Android and iOS. Now, when you take a photo of an animal—like a cute cat or dog—you can use Lens to help identify its breed and get more information.

lens pet day

3. Create a movie dedicated to your furry friend
Your pet may have a leading role in your life, but it’s time to show the rest of the world that your animal is a star. If your pet is ready for a big screen debut, open your Google Photos app, go to the Assistant tab, and click on the movie button. Then, if available, choose the Meow Movie or Doggie Movie option, select your pet, and we’ll compile the best photos of your four-legged pal into a movie, set to pet-themed music.

For the 150th anniversary of the SF SPCA, we put together a special Meow Movie for some of their fabulous felines who need a home.

For the 150th anniversary of the SF SPCA, we put together a special Meow Movie for some of their fabulous felines who need a home. For more information, visit https://www.sfspca.org/.

4. Label your pet to easily find photos of them
In most countries, you can label your cats and dogs so that you can search to quickly find photos of them. Or even better, you can find photos of that one time you dressed them up for Halloween by searching “Oliver hat” or pictures of them in the park by searching “Oliver park.”

oliver

5. Search by breed and emoji
Speaking of fast ways to find photos of your pets, you can also search by breed, species, or emoji—tryor. Quickly search “pitbull” to rediscover photos of your sister’s cute canine, or “gecko” to pull up pics of that cool lizard your friend has. 

Howevfur you pampurr your pets, we hope you can try out a few of the features that Google Photos has to off-fur.