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Google Android Software Hardware Technology

Google Enables Pixel Visual Core For Better Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp Photos (theverge.com) 22

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google's Pixel Visual Core, the hidden image-processing chip inside the Pixel 2 family of phones, is getting an update today that lets it work its machine learning magic in third-party apps. Already enabled via Android 8.1 for the Pixel 2's main camera app, the Visual Core is now going to be operational within any other camera app that employs the relevant Google APIs. That means your Instagram photography and Snapchat Stories will get the benefit of the same improvements in processing speed and efficiency. I have been using a Google Pixel 2 XL since before the Android 8.1 update that initially flipped the Visual Core to being active, and I can't say I've noticed a huge difference in the speed or operation of the camera. It was sterling before 8.1, and it's been the same since. But the way Google explains it, the Visual Core is likely to be more helpful and impressive in third-party apps because it will allow the company to run its proprietary HDR+ algorithm in those other apps: "Pixel Visual Core is built to do heavy-lifting image processing while using less power, which saves battery. That means we're able to use that additional computing power to improve the quality of your pictures by running the HDR+ algorithm."
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Google Enables Pixel Visual Core For Better Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp Photos

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  • Nice! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Monday February 05, 2018 @06:14PM (#56073417)

    "That means your Instagram photography and Snapchat Stories will get the benefit of the same improvements in processing speed and efficiency."

    So the rest of the planet will get the pictures of your lunch and your cat much faster.
    The world will be a better place.

    • by BBF_BBF ( 812493 )
      Really this just means that the photo from the camera that the Instagram app gets is of super high quality before the user promptly applies a blurry, color reducing filter on it.

      In other words, no difference in picture quality of the end product posted to many Instagram accounts... just the satisfaction of using the co-processor for Google Engineers. ;-)

    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      The big difference for me is that photos with HDR+ on (i.e. 99.99% of all photos on my phone) are processed with less of a hit to the battery. If you take more than 2 photos a day (I use mine for everything form sunset photos to taking photos of grocery lists or part numbers for my car/laptop) HDR is pretty heavy on the battery, and I've had it kill my phone at low battery.

      So if it decreases battery drain on devices, I'm all for it. Especially when we go on trips and take 100+ photos in a day. My gi

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Monday February 05, 2018 @06:40PM (#56073569)

    Google really have done a great job with HDR and image enhancement on the Pixel 2. On the 5X, taking multiple HDR shots would make images queue up to be processed, slowing the whole phone down, making it hot, and after several shots prevented the camera from taking more photos until the queue emptied out a bit again. In some situations using HDR was definitely a risk to managing to capture the shot at all.

    On Pixel 2 HDR shots are the default and the phone takes photos faster than non-HDR shots on the 5X.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The last I saw, it was still over $600 for the Pixel 2. I don't know what the price is now, but if it's over $300 it's still too expensive. A good phone is useless if it's too expensive for most people to justify buying it. A lot of us have gotten fucked by Google with their Nexus devices, where the devices still work fine but newer releases of Android stops supporting them after only a few years. The Nexus 5 came out in late 2013, yet it was no longer supported by Android 7, which was released in August 20

      • The last I saw, it was still over $600 for the Pixel 2. I don't know what the price is now, but if it's over $300 it's still too expensive. A good phone is useless if it's too expensive for most people to justify buying it. A lot of us have gotten fucked by Google with their Nexus devices, where the devices still work fine but newer releases of Android stops supporting them after only a few years. The Nexus 5 came out in late 2013, yet it was no longer supported by Android 7, which was released in August 2016! It's stupid to pay $600 or more for a phone that might stop receiving updates within 3 years of its release!

        I mean they announce the support period when they released the phones... and infact have extended it after-the-fact for some of the phones. So I hardly call that "fucking over"

    • by trawg ( 308495 )

      HDR still fails for me semi regularly on my 5X :( it seems to happen if I try to do something with my phone while it's in processing state - I end up with a corrupt photo. I leave it turned off mostly but tried it again the other day for one photo, and only just noticed it didn't work.

  • Blurry panoramas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Monday February 05, 2018 @07:00PM (#56073673)

    Google should fix the blurry panoramas:
    https://productforums.google.c... [google.com]

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