16 May 2013

Google+: “New Google+: Stream, Hangouts, and Photos”

Photos: your darkroom is now a Google data center

  • Auto Enhance. Taking a good photo and making it great is a task generally reserved for professional photographers. That’s why, for example, we continue to support and improve tools like the Nik Collection. For everyone else we’re introducing Auto Enhance: a new way to improve brightness, contrast, saturation, structure, noise, focus... and dozens of other factors automatically. Simply upload some photos, then open the lightbox to see Google's enhancements. And that’s it. (And of course: you can undo the changes at any time.) Here’s some sample images to get you started.
  • Auto Awesome. Sometimes we’ll create a brand new image based on a set of photos in your library. For example: if you upload a sequence of photos, we’ll try and animate them automatically. Or if you send us a few family portraits, we’ll find everyone’s best smile, and stitch them together into a single shot. Likewise with panoramas, filmstrips, and a whole lot more. We call these kinds of enhancements Auto Awesome.
Vic Gundotra

Even as an amateur photographer, I have a problem with all the new ‘auto’ functions (and Auto Awesome is the lamest name for a feature I heard in a while). Post-processing is indeed part of every photo we take, whether it’s done by in-camera software or on more powerful desktop PC’s, but as most photographers know, relying on the camera’s auto settings is rarely the recipe for a good photo. I don’t expect to do a better job with automated software, even running on their huge server farms. These all sounds like features intended for casual users who can’t be bothered to learn what shutter speed is and as such I expect them to be copied by (probably for Instagram) in the next six months. Photography enthusiasts will want some degree of control over the result of their work. After all, Ansel Adams’ quote reads You don’t take a photograph, you make it, not “Google makes it”.

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