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What is Magic Editor? Google Photos’ next big AI advance explained

You’ve seen Magic Eraser? Now Google Photos is adding Magic Editor to perfect your photos and help remove and alter elements beyond those pesky photo bombers.

Announced during the Google I/O 2023 keynote, Magic Editor uses ‘semantic understanding and generative AI’, to go much farther then erasing items. It’s designed to perfect some elements of the photo that could often have been handled at source during set up and capture.

Here’s what Magic Editor can do and when it’ll be arriving.

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What does Magic Editor do?

During the announcement, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai used the example of a photo taken of a person in front of a waterfall during a hike.

The subject was wearing a bag, but Magic Editor was able to remove the visible strap. Although it did leave a pretty considerable indent in the jacket, so not a perfect removal.

You can also change the lighting, remove some clouds, and adjust the position of the subject so they look as if they’re actually catching the waterfall in their hands.

Google Photos Magic Editor1

In another example, Pichai used a photo a kid holding a bunch of balloons that had been cut out of the frame slightly.

Magic Editor enables the Google Photos user to move the kid and the balloons into the centre of the frame and uses AI to generate the missing elements of photo – such as the rest of the bench, the balloons, and sky that weren’t captured in the original shot.

Any adjustments to the sky lighting are reflected in the lighting throughout the photograph to maintain consistency.

When does Magic Editor arrive?

Magic Editor will arrive in Google Photos – presumably for all users – later this year.

The company also announced AI developments within Maps and Gmail. Gmail for instance will gain a “Help Me Write” feature and will now compose an entire email for you if you can’t be bothered to reply.

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