Google’s Cinematic Photos – short animations created out of photographs, similar to Apple’s Live Photos – have just gotten way cooler. In a blog post Thursday, Google highlighted several Google Photos features, most of which have recently been announced, but there’s one entirely new tool as well.
Thanks to the wonders of machine learning, Google’s algorithms can now fill in parts of the background that would normally be obscured behind the subject, so the virtual camera can move freely around the subject. Google says this is “sort of like a movie director for your photos,” which may be taking it a bit far, but the effect is very interesting nevertheless. Check out an example below.
We haven’t been able to test this out yet, but it’s likely that the results will vary a lot, depending on the background behind the subject — it’ll probably work best with a uniform backgrounds, such as the surface of the sea or a meadow. Still, you have to wonder when you’ll be able to just take a still photo and have Google’s AI really turn it into a short movie.
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This week, Google is also rolling out a new People and Pets widget on Android. The widget lets you pick friends, family, and pets, and have them displayed on your homescreen. If you tap on it, you’ll open the Photos app where you can look at even more pictures of your dear ones.
Finally, another feature called event Memories, which started rolling out last week, gives you an easy way to look back on important moments such as holidays and birthdays.