The new Magic Eraser function demonstrates the company’s vast photo-editing ambitions.
The Google Pixel 6a may have gone unnoticed at Google I/O 2022, but one of its new camera features demonstrates that Google obviously wants to compete with Photoshop.
On the Google Pixel 6, we saw its handy Magic Eraser tool, which helps you rapidly eliminate undesired persons or objects from a shot. Google has recently revealed that the tool will acquire a new feature that will allow you to change the colour of things in your images with a single tap.
This may seem like a little change, but it means that with just one tap, you can now make some fairly significant photo modifications — ones that would have required tinkering with masks and eyedropper tools just a few years ago. And that means Magic Eraser, as well as its relatives Face Unblur and Motion Mode, are quickly becoming Photoshop for those who don’t want or need actual Photoshop.
The improved Magic Eraser function will undoubtedly generate disputes over photography vs. digital art, which most Pixel 6a buyers are unlikely to care about. The line between the two, according to traditionalists, is crossed when you start adding light or aspects to a scene that weren’t present at the time of capture – eliminating items is one thing, but letting AI and its digital paintbrush wild on your photos is quite another.
However, Google is clearly targeting the point-and-shoot demographic. The Magic Eraser is a next-generation healing brush that outperforms competitors like Snapseed and PhotoShop, and it now offers colour palette healing.
Adobe vs. Google
In a recent interview with Adobe’s Life blog, Levoy said that the company is working on a “universal camera software” that will include some of the computational “sorcery” seen in the early Pixel phones.
But, unlike Google’s Magic Eraser, Adobe is adopting the opposite way. While Levoy’s purpose at Google was to “democratise decent photography,” his goal at Adobe is to “democratise creative photography,” according to him. “Marrying pro controls to computational photography image processing pipelines” is what this signifies.
Instead, Google’s upgraded Magic Eraser is squarely in the camp of “democratising decent photography,” and it’s something the tool is becoming better at. Photographers spend hours considering a scene’s colour palette or waiting for the right moment, but with Magic Eraser, you’ll be able to do it in seconds. And that’s most likely only the beginning of its abilities.
Which is more powerful: the Magic Eraser or Photoshop? Depending on whose side of the photography fence you’re on, Google is unquestionably winning the point-and-shoot battle.
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