There are things that Google's Magic Editor won't 'fix'

Google Photos magic eraser tool being shown on the stage
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A deep dive into version 6.60 of Google Photos has unearthed several things its Magic Editor won't touch such as facial features and parts of people.
  • Error messages will appear when a user attempts to edit an ID card as it goes against Google's generative AI terms of service.
  • The same v6.60 deep dive showed signs of a new text-to-image generation ability coming for Google Photos.

Some information found within Google Photos' latest update version details some editing limitations.

The error messages were discovered during an APK deep dive conducted by Android Authority detailing all that the Magic Editor in Google Photos cannot erase or alter. Version 6.60 of the app features strings of code that mention errors the users will see when attempting to edit someone's face. The message reads, "Magic Editor can't edit faces. Try something else."

Similarly, Google Photos' Magic Editor cannot "edit parts of people" when selected, as well.

Several other errors are as follows:

  • Magic Editor can't erase or move large selections. Try making a smaller selection.
  • Can't complete edit. Try moving your selection less.
  • Magic Editor can't generate images that may have personally identifiable information. Try typing something else.
  • Magic Editor can't complete this edit. Try a different edit.

It goes without saying that editing an item such as a person's ID, for any such purpose, would be considered questionable. So, it's not surprising that Google would include some sort of identifier if its AI software is dealing with such information. Moreover, this can be seen as part of Google's efforts to create "responsible" AI as an act such as attempting to edit an ID card goes against its generative AI ToS (terms of service).

And as Android Central's Jerry Hildenbrand points out, Google works hard to make sure AI isn't evil, despite others claiming the Pixel 8 may be the start of some AI apocalypse.

While some of these error messages seem new as a way of stopping equally questionable acts, it appears as though most of them were already present. However, the messages seem to be getting a little more specific and detailed, as Android Authority states it attempted to edit faces and IDs but only received a generic error, initially.

Unfortunately, it looks like Google still has some work to do as users can edit invoices through Photos' Magic Editor.

This same deep dive into version 6.60 of Google Photos unearthed a possible new feature arriving for the Magic Editor. According to the publication, text-to-image generation prompts were spotted. Little is known about it at the moment, though it could mean users are in for a way to create new backgrounds or possibly objects when editing pictures.

Google revealed Magic Editor during I/O 2023 earlier in May, which rolled out with the launch of the Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8. The goal behind it is to "make complex edits easy." With generative AI at the core of the feature, Magic Editor can help shift objects around and generate new parts to fill in the gaps.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.