One of the most impressive new features Google showed off for the new Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is aptly called “Magic Eraser.” Much like the heal tool in Photoshop, Magic Eraser lets you choose any part of a photo and remove it entirely. In demonstrations today, the resulting photos really did look like they’d been professionally Photoshopped — and all it took was a few swipes.
Google spent a sizable portion of today’s Pixel Fall Launch event speaking to the forthcoming Pixel 6 line’s “state-of-the-art” camera system and the custom Tensor chip that allows for high-speed machine learning processing. Put those two next-gen capabilities together and you end up with a slew of new photography options.
Swipe or suggest — Magic Eraser can be used by either picking out distractions to erase yourself or letting Google Photos suggest what it believes are distractions. Magic Eraser will allow you to either erase all detected distractions or click on one at a time to remove them. You can also circle or brush over the object you’d like erased. How well that erasing process will hold up to close scrutiny (and how it performs in various conditions) remains to be seen.
The use cases for the feature are pretty extensive, as Google sees it. Remove a contemporary car from a photo meant to look like the 1950s; erase a child that photobombed your selfie; take out the branch that got in the way of your autumnal apple picking shot. And Magic Eraser works on all photos, whether or not they were taken on the Pixel 6, so you can finally erase your ex from the archive, too. (There’s no guarantee that the results will look good if you’re cuddling, though. In fact, it will probably look like a bad Photoshop job. But hey, people are gonna try.)
Adjust the motion — Google is also utilizing the new Tensor chip for a myriad of other impressive camera functions. Two notable features focus on motion blur — the ability to not only remove it but to add it, too, if you so desire.
Face Unblur is exactly what it sounds like. By using the Pixel 6 camera’s face-tracking technology, the phone can detect when a person’s face will be blurry in a photo. Another lens takes a second shot of the face and blends the images, making the person’s face much easier to see.
Sometimes you do want to capture motion, though. Most phones default toward image stability, which means you might miss the blur of the subway as it goes by or the spin of the Ferris wheel. Motion Mode lets you add that motion back into the photo.
For most people, these onboard machine learning innovations won’t be groundbreaking. They are features that continue expanding the Pixel camera’s capabilities, though — and, perhaps more importantly, they differentiate the Pixel 6’s state-of-the-art camera system from the iPhone 13’s state-of-the-art camera system.
Magic Eraser and all of the Pixel 6’s other machine-learning photo functions will be available in the Google Photos app when the Pixel 6 launches on October 28.