Google Camera app now on Kitkat and adds Lytro-like effect
So far Google's in-house camera app has only been available on Nexus devices but now a new version of the app is available to anyone in the Google Play Store. For now it only works on devices running Android Kitkat 4.4 but Google is planning to make the app work on older versions too.
The new app comes with the minimalist design we know from the vanilla Android version and offers the Photosphere 360 degree panorama feature, an improved standard panorama function, and a brand new feature called Lens Blur. The latter uses the device's processing power and some clever software trickery to simulate the shallow depth-of-field you get from a large sensor and fast lens combination - allowing you to isolate your subject from the background.
To achieve this, the camera takes a series of images while you "sweep" it slightly upwards. It then uses the captured information to create a 3D-model, similar to what the secondary camera module does in HTC's new One M8 flagship phone.
Lens Blur also allows you to change the point of focus after the photo is taken like a Lytro Light Field camera. Via sliders, you can also simulate different apertures. The Google Research Blog gives a good insight into how the system works.
Google's samples look good and better than what we've seen from the HTC One M8 but we'll have to do some testing ourselves to find out how well the system works. If you want to try Lens Blur and the features yourself, and you own a device running Android 4.4, download the app for free from the Google Play Store.