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CSI just got real with the Pixel 8 Pro's crazy Zoom Enhance feature

Ever tried pinching to zoom in on a snapped image and wished it more detail? This Pixel 8 Pro feature might help.

Published onOctober 4, 2023

  • Google has announced the Zoom Enhance feature for the Pixel 8 Pro.
  • This uses generative AI to enhance the detail of an image when you zoom in after the fact.
  • The feature will come to the Pixel 8 Pro in a future Feature Drop.

Google has just announced the Pixel 8 series of phones, and the company revealed a slew of cool AI features for these devices. However, the firm is taking a page out of the CSI playbook with an upcoming Pixel 8 Pro feature.

Google revealed the so-called Zoom Enhance feature during the event. As the name implies, this will allow you to enhance the detail of a snapped image using generative AI smarts when you zoom into it. Check out the comparison below.

“When you pinch in, Zoom Enhance can intelligently sharpen and enhance the details of your images, so you can get closer than ever — even when you forget to zoom,” Google’s Rick Osterloh explained on-stage.

The executive added that this feature was made possible due to the Pixel 8 Pro being the first smartphone to offer a custom generative AI image model on-device. The mention of “on-device” suggests that you’ll be able to use Zoom Enhance offline too.

This feature has the potential to be a game-changer for camera zoom as your options are generally limited when it comes to improving resolvable detail and enhancing zoom after an image is taken. Super-resolution/upscaling apps are available, but this seems like a more convenient, potentially faster solution as you simply tap the “enhance” button in Google Photos. This could also theoretically enable better long-range zoom after the fact when shooting images with the Pixel 8 Pro’s 5x camera.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Zoom Enhance (3)

In saying so, we do wonder how the feature will fare with people and complicated textures. These two areas remain a challenge when it comes to hybrid zoom on modern smartphones.

Zoom Enhance will only be available on the Pixel 8 Pro for now, but it won’t be available out of the box. Instead, you’ll need to wait for a future Feature Drop to use it. We’ll be sure to put it to the test when we eventually get our hands on it.

We’ve asked Google to clarify whether Zoom Enhance will work offline, whether it can be used with telephoto cameras, and if there’s a launch window for the Pixel 8 Pro. The company declined to share specific information.

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