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Google Photos' new Android editor uses AI to help images pop

You can even add portrait effects to years-old pictures.

Published onSeptember 30, 2020

google photos editor android 2020
  • Google is rolling out an update editor in the Photos app for Android.
  • It offers AI suggestions for edits and more granular manual control.
  • Portrait Light on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 helps faces shine.

Google didn’t just cater to Android fans with the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G at its Launch Night In event — it also introduced a brand new Photos editor for Android that aims to improve snapshots for everyone, not just those with the latest devices.

The new Google Photos editor uses machine learning to suggest changes to pictures that you can apply with one tap. Some are simple touch-ups like Enhance, while others are flashy effects like Black and White Portrait or Color Pop. You can often see the specific changes made to a photo if you want to tweak the results.

Read more: The best photo editor apps for Android

You might be happy if you prefer manual edits. The upgraded Google Photos for Android offers easier granular controls for aspects like brightness and saturation. Once you’re in the Adjust menu, you just need to tap the intended effect and use a slider to dial in even very slight changes.

There is one feature that currently requires the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G. Portrait Light relies on machine learning to not only improve the lighting quality in portrait mode photos, but change the angle and brightness. It works even for photos you took years ago, Google said. The feature is somewhat reminiscent of Apple’s portrait lighting effects on newer iPhones, albeit with a focus on greater control over effects.

The new Google Photos editor is rolling out to Android devices now. Portrait Light is coming to other Pixel phones “soon,” so don’t despair if you’re hoping for similar photographic tricks on your Pixel 4.

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