iphone camera

I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of technological overlaps.  That sounds strange, I know.  But for some reason, it feels odd to see Google creating apps for iOS.  Don’t get me wrong, this is obviously good news for iOS users.  Perhaps it feels weird because Google got into the phone (Android) game.  So I tend to associate their devices and products with Android.  Please note, that I’m not naive with this one.  I struggle to make this kind of connection on occasion.  So when I see a headline about a new Google app for iOS, I have to do a double take.  What is the reason for my long introduction today?  Google has decided to release more photography apps.  But they are building the apps on experimental technology.

Known as “photography appsperiments”, they take advantage of recent phone and computer vision advancements.  “Photography appsperiments” are “usable and useful mobile photography experiences built on experimental technology.” Stills, which first launched on iOS, created cinemagraphs from short video using experimental stabilization and rendering technologies.  The two new apps use such technologies – like object recognition, person segmentation, stylization algorithms, and efficient image encoding/decoding.


Google is researching this technology given the rest of next-generation phone cameras.  These cameras will be able to blend hardware and computer vision algorithms.  More specifically, Google is exploring radically new creative mobile photo and video applications.  Soon, cameras will be able to understand the semantic content of a photo.   The two apps look like this:

  • Selfissimo! (iOS, Android) is an automated selfie photographer that snaps a stylish black and white photo each time you pose. Tap the screen to start a photo shoot. The app encourages you to pose and capture a photo whenever you stop moving. Tap the screen to end the session and review the resulting contact sheet, saving individual images or the entire shoot.
  • Scrubbies (iOS) lets you easily manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to produce delightful video loops that highlight actions, capture funny faces, and replay moments. Shoot a video in the app and then remix it by scratching it like a DJ. Scrubbing with one finger plays the video. Scrubbing with two fingers captures the playback so you can save or share it.

What will this mean for the photography business?  Or even non-professionals taking pictures with their iPhones?  Well, it’s going to put new tools into the hands of people who aren’t familiar with photography practices.  This is important as everyone seems to want to get the next great shot.  I mentioned in a previous post, that “regular people” want to have a camera that will take a great picture for them.  No thought has to go into lighting or angles etc.  Whereas photographers have that kind of knowledge, and therefore just need a good camera to work with.  But that’s why we are seeing these kinds of apps more and more.  Google is catering to the masses with this one.  That’s not a slam either.  This is what people want, so I see it as a good thing.