Google’s latest vision for Google Plus is focused on images – and the use of artificial intelligence. Imagine a team of Google robots meticulously fixing your wrinkles, making everyone smile in photos they didn’t actually smile in, and changing the sky to make it a tad more perfect. Am I the only one who thinks it’s borderline creepy?
Let’s take a closer look at the major changes coming to Google Plus Photos.
Google is expanding its free data storage and that’s a great thing. Just like Gmail, the company is using its vast supply of servers to maintain your data for you, and if you are comfortable with that, you can get it 15GB for free (with free backup). Given the increase in resolution of new phone cameras and digital cameras, 15GB might not be a lot for serious photographers.
According to Google, you’re too busy* to select your best photos so they will do the dirty job for you. To help select the best photos for you, Google is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to remove blurry images, poor exposures, and duplicates while selecting photos with smiling people, popular scenic destinations and smiling people. Google has already done this for your photos if you have Google Plus.
*This is simply not true for me. Sorting/selecting photos is a task I’m more than happy to do after a fun trip. It’s a chance to remember all of those special moments and decide on a narrative I can share via images.
Imagine Google’s new enhancement feature as filter you can turn on or off (or as Picassa with a different name). Don’t like wrinkles? Keep the enhancements on. Just simply uploading your photos to Google will get you better brightness, contrast, saturation, and much more. The changes are made with special algorithms that can detect faces, eyes and skin. No more wrinkles, blemishes, or red eyes. No Photoshop skills required.
Awesome is a terrible name for a set of great features. Alright, now that that’s out of the way, can I say weird and cool in the same sentence while being suspicious of creep factors? Google is good, perhaps too good:
Sometimes we’ll create a brand new image based on a set of photos in your library. For example: if you upload a sequence of photos, we’ll try and animate them automatically. Or if you send us a few family portraits, we’ll find everyone’s best smile, and stitch them together into a single shot. Likewise with panoramas, filmstrips, and a whole lot more. We call these kinds of enhancements Auto Awesome.
That’s right, Google can make images and media out of things you didn’t even know you wanted, without knowing you ever wanted them (though they probably know more about what we want than we do).
However, I’m constantly making weird faces in my portraits … will this this might kill the Google bots? Watch this short video demonstration to see these new features in action.
Overall, the new additions to Google photos are very impressive, but I can’t start using them until I get over my Google world domination phobia.