Google Photos gets new AI-powered cinematic photo effect

Google Photos has introduced a selection of new features that will automatically enhance selected photos with dramatic AI-based effects.

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Having recently canceled what was for many the main reason for using the service, Google Photos must innovate if it is to keep its users (or should I say now, “customers”) interested. To this end, Google has announced a new “Cinematic Photo” creation as well as improvements to its popular “Memories” section.

The new cinematic photo takes an existing still image and animates it with a subtle 3D zoom effect. The end result mimics the “dolly zoom” effect used by many famous directors, including Alfred Hitchcock. Dolly zoom exploits the change in perspective that occurs when you physically move the camera away from the subject while simultaneously zooming (or vice versa).

To achieve this, Google Photos uses machine learning to create a 3D representation of your image and then deploys a moving virtual camera to create the zoom effect.

Currently, there is no way to create cinematic photos manually. Google Photos selects the right photos for you and delivers the results as they see fit. When it does, they’ll show up in your Recent Highlights alongside Google’s other automatic selections.

By continuing to focus on memories, Google has also started rolling out new collage designs. These are also powered by AI and will automatically determine which of your photos will go well together based on their content and colors.

The Memories feature will also search for more photos of the people it considers most important to you, as well as memories based on your favorite things and activities. These will also be created automatically, but luckily you can ask Google Photos to hide any times or people you’d rather not get reminded of.

Google Photos continues to be a useful and extremely powerful photo service and features like these are sure to increase its popularity. However, it remains to be seen how many of its billions of users and more will remain after their unlimited free storage plans end in June 2021.

You can read more about the new features in the recent Google blog post.

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