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Google Photos adds awesome new editing features, but there’s ‘One’ huge catch

Google Photos is bringing new editing features to Android users, but in order to make use of them, you’ll need a Google One cloud storage membership.

The new features, which were previously only available on Pixel devices, include the machine learning-based Portrait Blur and Portrait Light features. However, unless you have a subscription to Google One, outside of the free allowance with your Google account, you won’t be able to use them.

“With Portrait Blur, you can blur the background post-snap, and with Portrait Light, you can improve the lighting on faces in portraits,” Google says in the blog post. “Both features work for photos just taken or images from the past — even if the original image wasn’t taken in portrait mode.”

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Next up are improvements to the Blur and Colour Pop features. Google One members can now apply them to old film scans or professional photos lacking depth information. Google automatically suggests adding the features to photos stored within the Google Plus library.

Google is also promising Google One members access to other machine learning effects, with one-tap suggestions for improving photos depending on their content.

The company adds: “With the Dynamic suggestion, you can enhance brightness and contrast across the image where it’s needed, so you get a dramatic, more balanced photo. And with sky suggestions, you can make your golden hour images pop by boosting and adjusting the colour and contrast in the sky with one of several palettes inspired by breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.”

Google One memberships start at a couple of bucks a month, which gets you 100GB of storage. However, it’s a little upsetting Google has chosen to restrict Google Photos app features in order to bring a few more people into the fold.

The company has already upset many Google Photos users by announcing it will no longer honour its commitment to unlimited free high-resolution uploads to Google Photos, so placing features behind a paywall is hardly going to endear the app to the public once again.

Elsewhere, Google is bringing a new video editing experience to the Photos app, which you won’t have to pay for. They’re available on both iOS and Android