Google Pixel Cameras Will Finally Unblur Your Pets and Work as a Webcam

Google Pixel Cameras Will Finally Unblur Your Pets and Work as a Webcam

Today’s big Gemini AI announcement from Google was inevitably going to suck all the air from any other big Pixel product updates. However, amid all the talk of native AI on Pixel 8 Pros, Google is also dropping a big feature-rich Android 14 update for Pixel cameras that the company claims will enhance your videos while finally letting users sharpen up those blurry photos of their furry companions.

There’s a fair few new camera options for those with the latest Pixel devices. Photo Unblur was first released on the Pixel 7 as an upgrade to the Face Unblur introduced with the Pixel 6. It essentially sharpens photos in a way that’s supposed to avoid the unnecessary graininess of other sharpening tools found in programs like Photoshop. The only problem was that it didn’t work on animals, so your most zippy pets prone to flitting out of camera focus would stay that way without manual adjustment. Now, you should be able to pick out and sharpen up pictures of your pets without much fuss on Pixel Tablet and all Pixel 6 phones or later.

There are a few other AI-enabled upgrades coming exclusively to the Pixel 8 Pro. One is the “Video Boost” feature that automatically readjusts photos’ colour, lighting, and graininess. It doesn’t happen on the phone but through the cloud, but the results are still accessible on-device. Similarly, the Pixel and 8 Pro now support timelapse video with Night Sight. You’ll need to give your phone a solid surface to stand on, but Google said the feature should take several high-ISO shots without blurring.

Google’s ‘Video Boost’ automatically adjusts lighting and sharpness through the cloud. Gif: Google

Those devices running Android 14 will also have access to a “Clean” mode that gives users access to a simple brush tool used to remove creases or stains from scanned documents.

Perhaps the most exciting hardware feature coming to Pixel 6 or later phones is the long-awaited ability to turn your phone camera into an ad-hoc webcam. Google said this should be as simple as connecting your phone to a laptop or desktop through USB (though it will only work with computers that support UVC). This feature has been on the docket for a few months now through the Android 14 beta. The camera tether should appear as a notification on the phone that takes users to a somewhat limited camera UI.

It’s a feature that already exists through the tethering capabilities of the iPhone 15 and Macs. Similarly, Microsoft might soon drop similar features to let Android phones tether to Windows devices through Microsoft Link.

As the last patch to Android 14 before the end of the year, there’s a surprising number of quality-of-life updates alongside the feature drops. Now, the Google Pixel Fold can force any app to operate at fullscreen, even those applications that normally refuse to, such as Instagram. The Fold will also now preview images on the outer screen while you take them with the inner display. We’ve already had it with devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, so it’s nice to see the feature making its way to Google’s first foldable.

Several more small but welcome changes to the Pixel ecosystem include spatial audio support on the Pixel Tablet and Call Screen (to help answer calls for you) on the Pixel Watch. Additionally, Pixel 6 or later phones should now suggest contextual replies inside the call screen. There’s even an all-new widget that combines time and weather in one. All these small updates add up, again proving this holiday season that—sometimes—it’s really the little things that matter most.

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