Google is giving your old family photos a new lease on life: Firm unveils new tool that instantly converts black-and-white pics to color, as it rolls out new AI features for its Lens smart app
- Google introduced a new colorizing tool that’s coming soon to its Photos app
- The tool uses AI to instantly convert black-and-white photos into color images
- Google Lens also got some updates, including Smart Text Selection and Style Match, which uses your camera to give suggestions for similar clothing items
- The firm hopes to introduce real-time results into the Lens app in the near future
Google has found another way to put its artificial intelligence technology to work.
At its annual I/O developer conference, the search giant unveiled a new tool within its Google Photos app that allows you to breathe some new life into vintage family pictures.
With just the push of a button, AI analyzes the photo to magically add color to old black-and-white photos.
At its annual I/O developer conference, the search giant unveiled a new tool within its Google Photos app that allows you to breathe some new life into vintage family pictures
Unfortunately, the feature is currently in development, so it won’t be available for all users just yet.
However, Google is launching some other nifty tools in its Photos app that can still transform your photos.
A new feature allows you to automatically turn the background of photos into black-and-white, while singling out one object — identified by AI, of course — to remain in color.
That tool will roll out to the Google Photos app starting this week.
Google is also bringing ‘Suggested Actions’ to the Photos app beginning on Tuesday, which offer up ‘smart actions’ on the screen for users to act on.
A new feature allows you to automatically turn the background of photos into black-and-white, while singling out one object — identified by AI, of course — to remain in color
The firm says the suggestions are powered by machine learning and may include things like options to share a photo with a friend, brighten a dark picture or hide a screenshot from your library.
Google Photos can also convert photos into PDFs from right inside the app.
Those weren’t the only photo and camera-related updates announced on Tuesday.
Google also unveiled some new features for its popular Lens smart app, which was first unveiled at last year’s I/O conference.
The firm has been working hard to make Google Lens even smarter.
Google’s goal is to make Lens a ‘visual browser for the world around you’, according to Wired.
To that end, Google is furthering that cause by bringing Lens to more smartphones.
After launching it for the Pixel phone, Lens is now available on a variety of smartphone cameras including Sony, Nokia and LG models, among others.
The updates are centered around enabling Lens to ‘answer more questions about more things, more quickly,’ according to Google.
A new feature called Smart Text Selection allows you to highlight words on a real-life item, and the camera will automatically bring up search results.
Aparna Chennapragada, vice president of product for AR and VR at Google, gave an example of scanning the word ‘Ratatouille’ on a menu.
It will automatically generate a definition of Ratatouille, as well as show a photo of what it looks like.
After launching it for the Pixel phone, Lens is now available on a variety of smartphone cameras including Sony, Nokia and LG models, among others. Pictured, Google Lens is able to identify landmarks around you, including Chicago’s Wrigley Building
ANDROID’S EYES: GOOGLE LENS
Google Lens uses the firm’s AI to process images, and can do everything from recognise a sign and help you buy tickets to translate menus in another language
Google Lens uses the firm’s AI to process images and Google will also add the Google Lens app to its assistant, allowing users to instantly translate menus, for instance.
In conjunction with Assistant, Google Lens also allows users to point their phone at a sign for a concert and automatically add that event to their calendars, or even purchase tickets right then and there.
The software will be able to recognise plants and even log onto wifi simply by pointing the phone at a password.
Later on in the keynote, another example showed Google Assistant using Lens’ technology to translate Japanese writing to English just by having the camera pointed at the Japanese sign.
Scott Huffman talks about improvements to the Google Assistant
‘You can copy and paste text from the real world—like recipes, gift card codes, or Wi-Fi passwords—to your phone,’ Google explained in a blog post.
‘Lens helps you make sense of a page of words by showing you relevant information and photos’.
Aparna Chennapragada, vice president of product for AR and VR at Google, gave an example of using Lens to define the word ‘Ratatouille’ on a menu
Another tool called Style Match lets you hold your camera up to mannequin or clothing item and it will show you options for similar items.
‘Sometimes your question isn’t what’s that exact thing, it’s what are things like it,’ Chennapragada said.
Users can see all the things that match the item and even see prices and purchase options within the Lens app.
Chennapragada also gave a glimpse into some advanced features that could be coming to Lens soon.
Google wants to incorporate real-time results into the Lens app so that users can see information about objects in their camera view automatically on the screen.
She added that Google’s powerful Tensor Processing Units, or machine learning chips, are partly what enables Lens to serve up real-time results.
For example, if a user points their smartphone camera at a concert poster, Google Lens may soon be able to play a music video from the artist automatically.
‘Over time, we want to overlay live results on things,’ Chennapragada said.
‘The camera isn’t just answering questions, but putting answers right where the questions are’.
The announcements were made at Google’s annual I/O developer conference in California, which kicked off with a keynote by CEO Sundar Pichai (pictured) and runs through Thursday
WHAT DID GOOGLE ANNOUNCE AT ITS 2018 I/O CONFERENCE?
Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the search giant’s annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California on Tuesday, with the event running through Thursday.
Pichai began his keynote speech by jokingly addressing a ‘major bug’ that the firm had to deal with this year – referring to ‘burgergate’, when users criticized where the cheese was placed on the firm’s burger emoji.
He shifted to a more serious topic, explaining that expectations are greater than ever before about how technology affects society, saying that while it can create a positive impact, we ‘can’t just be wide-eyed’ and need to address the negative consequences, too.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the firm’s annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California on Tuesday, with the event running through Thursday
The firm made some significant announcements around Google Assistant, its latest mobile OS Android P, Google Lens, Google Photo and Waymo, among other areas.
Pichai announced that its AI Assistant is getting six new voices, to make it more conversational and natural.
The goal is to capture dialects, languages and accents more accurately and realistically on a global scale, the firm said.
What stole the show, however, was when Google announced that award-winning R&B artist John Legend would be voicing some commands for Google Assistant.
Google also surprised viewers when it debuted a new Duplex tool that enables Assistant to call businesses and schedule appointments or make reservations.
In a live conversation, Assistant is able to field many questions and even knows to ask how long the wait is without being prompted.
Plenty of new features are on the way with Android P, including ‘Digital Wellness’ tools to limit screen time, iPhone X-like gesture controls and AI to extend battery life
Google revealed new details about Android P, which is the successor to its Android O, or Oreo, software that currently runs on billions of smartphones.
Plenty of new features are on the way with Android P, including ‘Digital Wellness’ tools to limit screen time, iPhone X-like gesture controls and sophisticated AI to extend your phone’s battery life.
Google also unveiled a suite of ‘Digital Wellbeing’ apps aimed to cut down on screen time and smartphone addiction.
Other new features include App Actions, which try to predict which apps you use most and least often, as well as ‘Slices’ which shows snippets of apps in other application windows to help with multitasking.
Android P is only available in beta mode for now, with eligible devices including the Google Pixel, as well as some Sony, Xiaomi, Nokia, Oppo and Vivo phones.
To download Android P beta, users have to sign up to be a part of the Android Beta Program.
Other new Android P features include App Actions, which try to predict which apps you use most and least often, as well as ‘Slices’ which shows snippets of apps in other application windows to help with multitasking
Waymo’s driverless car service is heading to Phoenix before the end of the year.
CEO John Krafcik took to the stage at Google’s I/O 2018 developers conference today to reveal the firm’s plans to extend its self-driving car rides to members of the public in just a matter of months.
Waymo has been testing out the technology on public roads in the metropolitan area through it’s ‘early riders’ program – but soon, anyone will be able to download the app and hail a ride.
According to Krafcik, Waymo’s driverless ride-hailing service will be available to the public in Phoenix later this year.
Aparna Chennapragada, vice president of product for AR and VR at Google, introduces the new Google Lens features
After passengers book a ride through the app, he says an autonomous vehicle will pull up and ‘whisk them away’ to their destination.
Google Lens/Google Photos
Google first introduced Lens at last year’s I/O developer conference.
It uses machine learning and AI to help identify objects and answer questions just by using the smartphone’s camera.
Now Google Lens is getting some major updates, arriving in the cameras of many major smartphones and new features like ‘Smart Text Selection’ and ‘Style Match’.
Smart Text Selection allows you to copy and paste words from the real world right onto your smartphone’s screen, just by highlighting them, while Style Match lets you point your camera at an outfit, which prompts the phone to serve up suggestions for items that are similar to what it sees.
Those features are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
Google Photos is also getting a variety of useful tools, like suggested actions that give you the option to brighten, share rotate or archive a photo.
An even cooler feature allows users to instantly colorize old black-and-white photos, or pop out one color and keep the background greyscale.
Google says these features are expected to arrive on the Google Photos app soon.
An even cooler feature, coming soon to Google Photos allows users to instantly colorize old black-and-white photos, or pop out one color and keep the background greyscale
Google is working on some nifty new features for Google Maps, including a short list of your favorite places, the possibility of a ‘virtual positioning system’ and more.
Assistant is coming to Google Maps in a big way, with a ton of new shortcuts, as well as the ability for the digital assistant to text your friend when you’re on your way.
Google is rolling out a tool called ‘Your Match’, which uses machine learning to determine your location and interests, serving up targeted suggestions for new businesses opening up in your area and more.
Google Lens is getting some visual features, like info cards that pop up in the app to tell you which building your looking at, in this case the Wrigley Building in Chicago
From there, users can create a shortlist of their favorite destinations that they can share with their friends.
And Google could soon roll out a new version of maps that addresses an age-old issue where you’re unable to figure out which way is North or South.
Instead, a new version of Maps would use Google Lens to show you on-screen which way to go, as well as insert a playful assistant, in this case a fox, to help guide you on your way.
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