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Google Photos gets AI-powered suggested photo edits and colorization feature

At its I/O developer conference, Google has announced a bunch of improvements to its Photos app and, as you would expect, most of them are powered by artificial intelligence. AI algorithms have helped Google Photos users find and rate images for some time, but now the new Suggested Actions feature uses the power of AI to analyze images and suggest smart edits that would improve the shot, or prompt you to share it with the right people.

For example, if the AI recognizes people in the image, Google Photos will suggest sending it to that person; in the case of underexposure, it will suggest cranking up the brightness; and if the horizon is crooked, it'll suggest rotating the shot. Also useful (but less photo-centric) if the algorithms detect that you have taken a photo of a document, it will suggest converting it to pdf.

All suggested actions can be confirmed and executed with a single tap.

In addition, Google Photos will receive some colorization tools. For example, a person in an image can be accentuated by desaturating the background and slightly increasing saturation on the subject. There'll also be a new function to automatically colorize old black-and-white images.

According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the new features will roll out in the next couple of months, so keep an eye on DPReview and we'll let you know when it's time to update your Google Photos app.

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Hyper111

' if the AI recognizes people in the image, Google Photos will suggest sending it to that person'

I am going take a photo of the two hot chicks in green and red dress (above). Google will send them the photo and I get to find out who they are!! Lol!

May 18, 2018
Hyper111

Will they be uploading a sample of the photo to Google servers and keep it there. A bit like my voice samples, when I speak to Google or Google Navigations?

May 18, 2018
BigEnso

I don't mind any feature updates and long as you can turn them off.

May 14, 2018
CaPi

One step too far if you ask me.
Preprocessed decision making will make the results less interesting if the past has anything to say about it..
btw its Machine Learning not AI - thus my prediction

May 12, 2018
Old Cameras

For the love of God, please stop saying "AI" (artificial intelligence) and "neural net" while you're at it. No such thing exists, except maybe in science fiction. Intelligent people use language in a precise fashion and do not propagate nonsense pseudo-technical buzzwords meant to impart fake scientific cache to dumb ideas.

May 10, 2018
Boissez

Yes they do. Just because you don’t understand what AI is, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

May 10, 2018
jnd

It exists and it's here to stay so better get used to because it's developing fast. Those who reject these technological advancements will follow the way of Amish.

May 10, 2018
DarnGoodPhotos

Old is correct to some degree. While rudimentary AI exists now, this photos feature is machine learning not AI.

May 11, 2018
CaPi

Its not AI - when asked Sundar said he doesnt care about the verbal destinction - thus the press releases.

May 12, 2018
KodaChrome25
KodaChrome25

BoiSSez and jnd - Read up on the Chinese Room Argument and get back to me.

May 12, 2018
J A C S
J A C S

What is wrong with the Amish - the best "organic" food I can buy locally is from Amish farmers. They make some great furniture, too.

May 13, 2018
Martin JC

step 1. Remove own thought process
step 2. Insert Google
step 3. Throw out copy of 1984

May 9, 2018
Arastoo Vaziri
Arastoo Vaziri

Are we supposed to be impressed by this?

May 9, 2018
DarnGoodPhotos

Depends on the results.

May 11, 2018
KodaChrome25
KodaChrome25

Would like to see DPR perform a test. Ten random photographs. Post with Google AI's suggestions. Allow the rest of us to rate the Google AI responses from -10 to 10.

May 9, 2018
CaPi

good idea =)
I would be in on that.
btw: wont 1-10 suffice?

May 12, 2018*
panther fan

If you are interested in other things google presented at their keynote:
https://youtu.be/BRUvbiWLwFI

If you just want to see the photo feature:
https://youtu.be/BRUvbiWLwFI?t=1m8s

And the probably most advanced AI feature today:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijwHj2HaOT0

May 9, 2018
brn

Overall impressive, but I'm always disappointed when presenters can't do math.

They "reduced the error rate by 100x, not 100%, but 100x". Mathematically impossible.

May 9, 2018
panther fan

It's not well phrased, but technically correct. For example you can reduce an error rate of 0.05 to 0.0005, which is a reduction by 100x, but not by 100%

May 10, 2018
brn

Math doesn't change if you start with fractions. If 0.05 is your starting point, going to 0.0005 is not 100x less. It is 99% or 0.99x less.

In your example, 100x less would be an error rate of negative 4.95.
Mathematically impossible.

http://timesless.com/

May 11, 2018*
Lan

>For example, if the AI recognizes people in the image, Google Photos will suggest sending it to that person;

That sounds like a major data protection/privacy issue to me!

May 9, 2018
s1oth1ovechunk

How? I'm not following your logic.

May 9, 2018
bloodycape

Facebook does the same thing.

May 9, 2018
jnd

Welcome to the 21st century, I guess?

Major data protection/privacy issue started the moment you uploaded something to cloud (or simply someone else's servers). Face recognition or auto tagging has been here for the last decade, on Facebook, Google, Flickr, you name it. And you agreed to the terms and conditions. No sane person can read them all but that's another issue.

May 10, 2018
MartiCode
MartiCode

That's a recognition based on other pictures of that person the user already has (not that other people have). One would think if you upload another pic of your wife, no privacy is breached when the software figures out it's your wife in it.

May 11, 2018
Hyper111

So if I take a photo of a random hot chick I see on the street, it will tell me who she is by emailing a copy of the sneaky photo I took of her. Welcome to the new world.

May 18, 2018
Mariano Pacifico

Goodness, Thank you! Not an iPhone image! DPR is listening as they always do. DPR should cycle thru all brands of smartphones so they do not appear to lean on a particular brand.

May 9, 2018
TMax1980

Ted Turner redux...

May 9, 2018
(unknown member)

Lightroom Mobile has this and I hate it; it's anti-creative. If I accidentally click "Auto," I see a version of my photo that's been edited hy the AI and it inevitably biases my thinking. Then I'm second guessing myself: am I allowing myself to be bound by what the AI thinks my photo should look like? Am I making my photo look different just because I don't want it to look like what the AI came up with? It's annoying. It disrupts the creative process.

I've no doubt that on the whole though this will lead to nicer-looking photos on social media, as few people bother to manually edit their photos anyway.

May 9, 2018
kelstertx

It sounds like you're completely discounting the possibility that the AI is a better judge of good photos than yourself... ;)

May 9, 2018
Old Cameras

Kelstertx
Computers know what computers like!

May 9, 2018
(unknown member)

Not the point. Photography is a creative process for me. If I just wanted the best-looking picture, I'd buy one that was taken by a better photographer. That the photo is the product of my own skill and vision is half the point of why I take photos.

May 9, 2018
Relaxed

Hmm. Since the AI has never been to that place, how does it know what the photographer was exposed to? Photography is an art form, and you can and should modify your images to suit your vision.

This might be an ok solution for journalism. But for art it’s a huge mismatch.

May 9, 2018
DarnGoodPhotos

If you accidentally press auto, just press undo.

May 9, 2018
PieterB
PieterB

I like that as a starting point.

May 10, 2018
(unknown member)

Also not the point. Of course I undo it, but once I've seen it it influences my thinking whether I take it as a suggestion or actively resist replicating its look. I wish they would at least move the button to somewhere where it's harder to press accidentally. It's front and center on the main interface, right up against the button for the exposure settings tab.

May 10, 2018
DarnGoodPhotos

I find it to be useful, and don't want to dig into the interface for that button. Once I am happy with my adjustments I will compare against what LR suggests to see if mine can be improved. I usually end up somewhere in between because the Auto suggestions seldom deliver something I am 100% happy with.

May 10, 2018
Michael Berg
Michael Berg

What happens if your smart, photo-savvy friend drops by and suggest a few edits to one of your photos? Do you ask yourself the same questions? If not, why not?

May 11, 2018
Relaxed

My friend could get a copy and play with it on his own.

Here’s a brain twister. Let’s say google AI find an Ansel photo online, and decides it needs a tweek. Would you take its suggestions over a master photographer?

May 11, 2018
kelstertx

Possibly! Here's an even bigger brain twister. Suppose the Google AI takes a photo and turns it into a photo that is exactly the same as Ansel would have made with his edits, but he's not here to verify it. Would you recognize it? LOL

May 11, 2018
Michael Berg
Michael Berg

Well. Google beat the world champion of Go using AI. You would be a fool for not taking a lesson from that. The old "masters" were highly optimized at one particular thing, which sounds a lot like what an AI is.

Would I take an AI's advice on a photo edit? Sure. I'd look at it. And if I liked it, I wouldn't throw it out simply because it wasn't a human who made that suggestion. That would amount to something like bigotry or at least snobbery.

In the end all that matters is that the photograph expresses the intent of the photographer. Wheather this goal is achieved using a paintbrush, a film camera or a digital camera with an AI making suggested edits really isn't the point in my opinion.

May 14, 2018
Relaxed

Go and creativity have nothing in common. The same applies to AI and creativity.

May 14, 2018
Michael Berg
Michael Berg

Playing a game like Go or Chess has a lot to do with creativity. But that wasn't my point, the point was that AI edits should be compared on equal terms with human edits. You would be a fool to disregard AI suggested edits purely because it wasn't a human being makeing these suggestions.

The end goal is to express the intent of the photographer, the AI is just a means to an end in that regard.

May 18, 2018
Relaxed

Michael, I agree- for a human. For a computer playing a game is very much an optimization problem. The same principal applies to art.

May 18, 2018
kelstertx

Yes, let us not forget it's not a computer overlord trying to prove its superiority, it's an algorithm trying to save us some time. Its reference data will be based on thousands of real photos done by humans. It will be trying to recognize what type of photo each one is, and apply edits similar to thousands of others of that type. That's essentially what metering in our camera and other features like night portrait try to do for us. To reject it because it's done by a machine is dumb. Sometimes the eye IS the proper focus point. Yes you could focus it perfectly it yourself, but the machine can do it in 1mS, so why not let it and put your energies on other matters? Because that's how you get terminators? Not in our lifetime anyway!

May 18, 2018
Relaxed

I think you’re getting side tracked. I have no problem using technology to create art, Sony can vouche for my horrendous case of gear acquisition syndrome. But art Andy creativity has nothing to do with focus. It’s all about the something new. You can (yet) teach that to computers.

May 19, 2018
chrisno

our cameras should have all these AI features as an option to enhance our photography

May 9, 2018*
Mariano Pacifico

When I shoot my Artificial Intelligence in my head kicks in. Most of the time my AI-shots are not contest-candidate like 99% of all users. So, I use AI-powered Google Photos+built bio-AI, then again, it still is contest-failure.

May 9, 2018*
jnd

True, the traditional camera industry is very conservative and it may well cost them their business in the end. Phones have evolved very fast in the last decade, all photos rely heavily on intelligent post processing for noise reduction, resolution, stabilization, fake bokeh and so on. Now you have all those advanced features but our standalone cameras still remain dumb boxes where most you can do is tweak the JPEG engine and that's it. There are attempts at enhancing apps (Sony, Samsung used to too) but it's not much.

AI is developping to be your smart assistant, always ready and learning what and how you like the results. Same way as smartphone became regular accessory, pocket computer with instant access to the internet, our society's collective knowledge.

May 10, 2018
Mariano Pacifico

Well said, jnd. Smartphones are smartcameras.

May 10, 2018