The Magic Editor: AI-Based Photo Editing Tool on Google Photos
Suppose you’ve ever visited the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy or other tourist attractions. In that case, you may have tried to capture that iconic photo of yourself holding up the tower. It’s a challenging shot to get right, requiring precise positioning and distance. You might have taken multiple attempts before achieving the perfect image.
Thanks to Google, you no longer have to endure this struggle. The tech giant has introduced an AI-powered tool called the Magic Editor, now available on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro devices in Google Photos.
Going Beyond Basic Edits
The Magic Editor goes beyond basic photo edits like lighting and brightness adjustments. It uses generative AI and advanced techniques to enable complex edits without the need for professional skills. For example, when taking a photo of the Tower of Pisa, you can reposition yourself, enlarge the tower, remove unwanted people from the background, and even change the sky’s color.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled this feature at the company’s developer conference, explaining how users can enhance their waterfall photos by removing unwanted objects, brightening the sky, and perfectly aligning subjects under the waterfall.
A Revolution in Photo Editing
The Magic Editor is set to revolutionize photo editing possibilities, making it easier for anyone to edit their images. However, it also raises concerns about the authenticity and credibility of online images. With AI’s ability to alter photos easily, questions arise about potential deception, fake news, and the erosion of trust in online content.
While it’s not new that photos can be edited using software like Photoshop or FaceTune, the Magic Editor simplifies the process, making it incredibly accessible. To resize a person, all it takes is a pinch, or to reposition, a simple tap and drag.
The Magic Editor-generated photos may not always be flawless, as acknowledged by Google. However, as AI technology continues to improve, distinguishing between edited and unedited photos will become increasingly difficult. AI is a central selling point in Google’s Pixel 8 phones, enhancing the overall user experience.
AI Features in the Pixel 8
Alongside the Magic Editor, the Pixel 8 introduces several AI features designed to enhance users’ daily lives. Call Screen, which allows Google Assistant to answer calls and deal with robocalls or scammers, has been upgraded. The Assistant’s voice sounds more natural, and it understands call context better.
Another AI tool called the Audio Magic Eraser reduces unwanted sounds in recorded videos. However, the most significant addition is Best Take, enabling face swapping from a series of photos, resulting in a picture where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling.
The Challenge of Misinformation
Misleading information and fake imagery are already prevalent issues across social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok have faced criticism for allowing the spread of disinformation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 US presidential election.
Google’s Magic Editor could make it easier for malicious actors to create and spread disinformation. To address concerns, some suggest adding watermarks to edited images to aid verification of authenticity.
While the Magic Editor may not reach the scale of disinformation campaigns seen during the presidential election, it does contribute to the normalization of inauthentic content. With powerful and native editing tools, every photo can be altered or manipulated in seconds, presenting challenges to trust and the notion of reality.