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Google Photos could finally let you adjust bokeh effects

But will the feature be restricted to dual-camera phones or could single-camera devices get some love too?

Published onJune 22, 2018

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  • Google may be working on bringing depth-of-field adjustments to Google Photos.
  • References to depth, blur, and foreground blur adjustments have been found in the latest version of the app.
  • The service could potentially let you downgrade the quality of your backed-up photos as well.

Depth-of-field/bokeh effects have become one of the more popular smartphone photography features, in the form of portrait mode and other similar options. Now, it looks like Google Photos will finally allow users to adjust the intensity of the effect.

Android Police cracked open the latest Google Photos APK file to search for hints of upcoming features. The biggest discovery this time is a series of references to depth, blur, and foreground blur adjustments. This suggests users will now have more control over depth-of-field effects after backing up their images.

So if you’d like everything to be in focus (including the background), you could potentially do that. If you want a fully blurred background, these new options should make it possible too.

How will it work?

The HUAWEI Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.

It’s not clear exactly how Google will deliver this feature, though. One potential route is allowing you to adjust photos from dual-camera phones that have portrait/wide aperture modes. Many dual camera phones capture all-important depth information when taking shots, which is extremely useful for complex bokeh adjustments like this.

Here’s how Portrait Mode works on the Google Pixel 2

Then again, Google could potentially harness machine learning so even photos from single-camera phones can be adjusted. After all, it delivered a great portrait mode on the single-camera Pixel 2 range, using machine learning and so-called semantic segmentation to accomplish this.

The company has been on a roll lately when it comes to photo tricks too, slowly rolling out color pop functionality to more users. It even demonstrated the ability to colorize your black and white snaps.

Elsewhere, the new feature could be good news for fans of Huawei and Nokia‘s bokeh modes, as users may soon be allowed to adjust depth-of-field effects after taking a shot. Right now, if you upload those images to Google Photos, you lose the ability to make those adjustments — even if you download them again.

Win back precious storage in Google Photos

The Google Photos app icon.

Android Police also found references to a second feature in the photo app, potentially allowing you to downgrade the quality of your backed-up snaps. Google Photos lets you back up a limited amount of photos at original quality, but if you run out of your allotted space, you ordinarily have to delete some of these photos.

This new feature likely means you’ll be able to downgrade photo quality of saved photos without having to jump through hoops.

What do you think of these potentially upcoming features? Is there anything else you’d like to see in Google Photos? Let us know in the comments!

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