Google Camera now on the play store!

Google Camera
For those who’ve been waiting since ages, Google Camera is finally on the play store for all devices running Android 4.4.x!
Google has made a number of improvements and refinements here, introducing a much cleaner interface “that gets out of your way” with a prominent shutter button. A brand new Lens Blur mode promises to achieve “SLR-like photos” offering a shallow depth of field.
Google says, “Lens Blur replaces the need for a large optical system with computer vision algorithms and optimization techniques that are run entirely on the mobile device, simulating a larger lens and aperture in order to creating a 3D model of the world.”. The company also posted details on how the Lens Blur came to be on their ‘Research at Google’ Google+ account.

I’ll present you with the Google Play description of the app and share what I found out from the app.

The Google Play description of the app says:

Google Camera snaps quick and easy photos and videos, and has creative picture modes like Photo Sphere, Lens Blur and Panorama.

  • Photo Spheres for immersive 360º views
  • Lens Blur mode for SLR-like photos with shallow depth of field
  • Panorama mode with high resolution
  • 100% viewfinder for getting the maximum resolution from the sensor (no dropped pixels)
  • Updated UI that gets out of your way and is centered on an extra large capture button
  • Works on phones and tablets running Android 4.4+ KitKat

Let’s compare this with what I saw.Main screenApp menu
When you first start the app, it opens in the expected camera mode. The menu shows 5 different modes. Camera, Video, Lens Blur, PhotoSphere and Panorama! When the first time you start the Lens Blur, Panorama or the Photosphere modes, you’ll be greeted with a short explanation of how to use it. The UI as you can see, follows the Google design guidelines, (Duh! Google App!) and looks very modern. For those who have used the Nexus camera app and Nexus devices might think that this might not be very different, but it is, you’ll again need to get to know the location of all the menus and stuff.

  • The photosphere feature is well known of course to all Nexus users or whoever managed to use the Nexus camera app. So I can’t say there’s any significant improvement here, for good photospheres, you still need a tripod or something.
  • Lens Blur! Frankly, that’s new, and it works reasonably good! If you’re going to Lens Blur a pic of your plate for Instagram, it’s perfect, since the instructions say that it’s best for photos of objects closer than 5 feet. It’ll need a bit more work, but it’s absolutely great, once again, the quality of the lens blur depends on how well the user handles it.

Lens Blur

  • Now there’s something new in the Video mode. On setting video mode, it’ll recommend Panoyou to change turn off auto-rotation lock and then turns the layout to landscape mode itself! If you didn’t listen to the people saying that videos are meant to be shot in landscape mode, now listen to Google!
  • The panorama mode really does take hi-res pics! But then, users of HTC, Sony or Samsung smartphone, or other popular brands like LG and Motorola, they all have already used High resolution panoramas already. So, nothing exciting here, except that the way this app takes panos is new. Perhaps better!
  • Umm, generally all major brands have camera apps with  a “100% viewfinder for getting the maximum resolution from the sensor (no dropped pixels)”. So I don’t really know what’s special there.
  • For the next part, you can already see how large the capture button is. The app really gets out of your way to let you do your thing. Even though a large capture button is easier to click and all, but it looks… too big? Yeah. Too big. Could have brought that area to better use!
  • And of course, the last part is nothing to brag about, Google knows it’s a limitation and is presenting it that way. (By adding it under “features”. Really?)

Overall, this is one great camera app! Fast, fluid, modern, has a way too big capture button. Everything that you need! And of course! The brand you amazing Lens Blur! Haha! Just kidding, it’s a good app, try it!

Google Camera on the Play Store
The Google Research Blog
The Verge

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