Google is stuffing generative AI into seemingly all its products, and that now includes the photo app on your phone. The company has previewed an “experimental” Magic Editor tool in Google Photos that can not only fix photos, but outright change them to create the shot you wanted all along. You can move and resize subjects, stretch objects (such as the bench above), remove an unwanted bag strap or even replace an overcast sky with a sunnier version.
Magic Editor will be available in early form to “select” Pixel phones later this year, Google says. The tech giant warns that output might be flawed, and that it will use feedback to improve the technology.
Google is no stranger to AI-based image editing. Magic Eraser already lets you remove unwanted subjects, while Photo Unblur resharpens jittery pictures. Magic Editor, however, takes things a step further. The technology adds content that was never there, and effectively lets you retake snapshots that were less-than-perfectly composed. You can manipulate shots with editors like Adobe’s Photoshop, of course, but this is both easier and included in your phone’s photo management app.
The addition may be helpful for salvaging photos that would otherwise be unusable. However, it also adds to the list of ethical questions surrounding generative AI. Google Photos’ experiment will make it relatively simple to present a version of events that never existed. It may be that much harder to trust someone’s social media snaps, even though they’re not entirely fake.