What you need to know
- A leak of the Google Camera software that ships with the Pixel 6 has revealed many new features and improvements.
- Magic Eraser, a feature first showed off all the way back in May 2017, might actually make a debut on the Pixel 6 thanks to the Tensor processor.
- Google looks to be adding a new face deblur feature, improvements to frequent faces, skin tone mapping, Top Shot quality improvements, and more.
There's been no shortage of Pixel 6 leaks lately, and this latest one from XDA-Developers is the first time we're finally getting a look at the Pixel 6's software. XDA was able to get ahold of an early release of the Pixel 6 camera software from an insider source and, of course, tore apart the code looking for as many new features as possible.
Among the treasure trove they discovered is a feature called Magic Eraser, which was teased by Google all the way back in May 2017 at that year's Google I/O. At that event, they showed off an "upcoming" feature that would erase any unwanted objects in an image — the example used was a fence that got in the way of someone taking a picture of their son at a baseball game — all with the magic of AI.
Google researchers published a paper last year with that exact scenario, showing that work had resumed on the project. The AI-processing powerhouse Google Tensor chip that powers the Pixel 6 looks to be the main reason we're finally going to see this long-awaited feature and seems to prove why this will rank among the best Android phones you can buy this year.
Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro sport a 50MP main camera and 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, the latter of which will be used in a new Face deblur feature. That feature works by taking photos from both the main and ultra-wide lens, then combining the image data into one image that features crisp faces and beautifully blurred bokeh background effects.
Similarly, the Frequent Faces feature looks to be graduating to version 2.0, which should help the camera better focus in on faces that you regularly take photos of (rather than someone just walking by). If movement happens in your photos — which it often does when kids or pets are involved — the Top Shot feature is designed to save the day.
Ever since that feature debuted with the Pixel 3, however, choosing a "better shot" often meant getting a downgrade in resolution — between 1 and 3MP — but the upgraded feature could mean higher resolution shots.
Google is also working on better skin tone mapping — particularly when it comes to folks with darker skin tones — and it looks like the auto tone mapping and contrast algorithms have seen an improvement in Google's latest software on the Pixel 6. Additionally, manual white balance should help resolve any scenarios where the correct white balance wasn't chosen automatically.
Wired microphones have been supported on Pixel for some time, but Bluetooth microphones might finally get support on the Pixel 6. That'll make it much easier for Vloggers to use wireless mics instead of getting tangled up all the time (or having poor audio quality).
Lastly, are some improvements to how flash is used, including better use of the screen as a front-facing flash, and the addition of the rear flash as part of the countdown timer for group photos.
While many of these features sound stellar, there are some disappointments to note. The leak suggests that only the main camera can be used to record 4K60 video, while the ultra-wide and telephoto lenses top out at 4K30 quality.
That means you will only be able to seamlessly switch between all three lenses on the Pixel 6 Pro when recording at 4K30 quality — or just the main and ultra-wide on the Pixel 6, since it doesn't have a telephoto lens — but both phones should support audio zoom in any mode.