Part of Google’s yearly releases of their own, in-house phones always include an introduction of a few new camera-related tricks that only Pixel phones get access to. As the years have gone on, however, it seems that more and more of these features rely on the editing prowess of Google Photos moreso than any particular software or hardware magic happening on the phone camera itself.
The biggest, most-popular features of late are Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur, both of which have been Pixel-only up until just recently. Thanks to an update announced at the end of February, however, we’ve now seen both the Magic Eraser and video HDR edits showing up on non-Pixel phones: Android and iOS as well.
This latest update should be rolled out to most Google One users at this point, and just a few days ago I actually used Magic Eraser on a photo on my Galaxy S23 Ultra, marking a really interesting movement by Google to take it’s cloud-based photo editing and begin sharing it with the world at large. It’s a move I totally support and think is in their best interest to continue as new features emerge.
Just today, I wondered to myself if Magic Eraser was showing up on my Chromebook just yet (or if it actually would at all) and I was pleasantly surprised to see it there and ready for me to use. Just like on my phone, I opened up a photo that had some potential for some random removals, I hit the edit button, and one of the options in the tools section was Magic Eraser.
Clicking into the option highlighted the potential removals and also prompted me to circle or color in those things I’d like to see deleted from my photo. As it should be, the camouflage option is there, too, allowing you to recolor objects as opposed to removing them outright.
At this point as we’ve had Magic Eraser around for a bit, the process of using it and results you can acheive aren’t quite as shocking as they once were, but the fact that I was able to pull it all up on the larger screen of my Chromebook and pull off the same result as I did with my Pixel 7 Pro not that long ago is a cool thing to have in my back pocket.
To be fair, I don’t use Magic Eraser that often, but when I need it, I love knowing that the Google Photos app on my Chromebook is the same general experience I get on my phone – Pixel or not. My sincere hope is that tools like Photo Unblur roll out in this Google One-only fashion down the road and that future features follow this same path. I think it is fine for Google to leverage the Pixel line to introduce some of these features, but Google’s bread and butter is horizontal software that reaches users on multiple platforms, and getting Magic Eraser in more hands means more people that simply choose to use the excellent Google Photos versus the competition. And that’s a win for Google and for users alike.