Google is opening up the Pixel 2’s Google-designed machine studying SoC, the Pixel Visible Core, to third-party apps. The primary apps to benefit from the chip are Snapchat and Fb’s pile of social media apps: Fb, Instagram, and WhatsApp. With the February Android safety replace for the Pixel 2, every app will get to make use of Google’s HDR+ picture processing in their very own footage.
With the launch of Android eight.1 Oreo, Google enabled the Pixel Visible Core within the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and added a “Neural Networks API” to Android. The brand new API permits apps to faucet into any machine-learning hardware acceleration chips current within the gadget, of which the Pixel Visible Core is among the first examples. Google’s HDR+ picture algorithm is among the first items of software program written for the Pixel Visible Core, and now it is open to extra apps than simply the Google Digicam App.
Google’s HDR+ algorithm takes a burst of pictures with quick publicity instances, aligning them to account for any motion and averaging them collectively. The result’s a noticeably higher picture, with much less noise and better dynamic vary. The photographs are additionally upsampled to supply extra element than you’ll in any other case get with a single 12MP picture. HDR+ is so good that the Android modding group has taken to porting the Pixel-exclusive Google Digicam app to different units, the place utilizing HDR+ immediately improves the output of the digicam.
Earlier than this launch, HDR+ on the Pixel had an enormous performance hole. It was unique to the Google digicam app, so in the event you have been utilizing another digicam app, the algorithm wasn’t there, and also you’d find yourself taking lower-quality pictures. Whereas any app on the Pixel can name up the Google digicam app with a easy “take image” intent, apps cannot construct customized options on high of Google’s digicam app. It is a downside if you wish to do one thing like Snapchat’s “Lens” digicam results, which necessitates constructing a customized digicam app from scratch and dropping HDR+. I doubt you want an entire additional SoC to open the HDR+ algorithms to 3rd events, however now all Pixel pictures will probably be equal so long as the app helps the Pixel Visible Core.
Snapchat and Fb are simply the launch companions for this characteristic. The HDR+ algorithms at the moment are open to any developer who needs to plug into Google’s chip.