Having recently gotten a Google Pixel 6 Pro, I’ve been playing around with its features. For example, this entire entry was dictated into the new voice recognition framework, Assistant voice typing. That in itself is pretty amazing, but that’s not my topic today.

I’d just taken a picture of a dog sleeping in the sunny backyard, when I noticed I’d left out a bright red basket. Good enough photo, though; right?

Curious to see how well Google Photos’ Magic Eraser feature works, I tapped the edit button and then Tools. I circled the red basket and tapped Erase (with with low expectations). Lo and behold!

Above you can see a close-up of the red basket; below is the result. Mind blown!

Okay, I thought, maybe that basket wasn’t the best test. It’s really bright red, unusally distinct from the background. What about the upside-down green pail sitting on the wooden chairs behind? Select, tap; mind-blown again!

I really hate the phrase “game-changer’ – it’s been so overused by the folks in the marketing department. This, however, is unbelievable! In mere seconds I got a better editing job than I could have done in Photoshop in 15 minutes.

How do I avoid going back through all my photos, cleaning things up, making things as perfect as they are in my head?

There really aren’t many times when I feel on the cusp of a brave new world; perhaps the day the iPhone was released, but this! It’s completely transformed my relationship with photos. And the fact that I was able to enter all this text just by speaking in a matter of minutes doesn’t make things less awe-inspiring.

Playing around with a few different kind of images just to see how magic the Magic Eraser tool actually is, I present a few of the results. (These ought to appear to you as animated GIFs, with the start and end results alternating.)

Here’s Thor, perched on a pick-up parked near-by.

Then there was this throwaway picture I took of a bakery. I was curious how Magic Eraser would work on the customers sitting inside, just on the other side of the glass.

Next up is a Roman outdoor market, from which I removed many of the tourists.

Lastly, the Café Mont-Cenis in Paris.

In most cases, if I didn’t know beforehand that any of these had been altered I wouldn’t figure it out with a casual glance. Perhaps not even with some detailed examination. These are personal pictures, never to be blown up to the size of a billboard or large interior art print, so I have more leeway in what I accept than does a art directory.

Nonetheless, I am absolutely gob-smacked by how good Magic Erase is in its first iteration. I couldn’t imagine this; I surely can’t imagine how much improvement this will see in its evolution.

Aside: hey, Google, perhaps you could use this brilliant AI examination of my images to finally offer a “remove duplicate images” feature in Photos; which happens every time I migrate phones. It was merely irritating when online storage was free, but now that you’re charging…


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