From creating comic strips to selfie photoshoots, Google’s new apps show the capabilities of our smartphone cameras.
Google has today (12 December) announced a new initiative called Appsperiments, in an effort to create useful and innovative apps focused on mobile photography.
Under the Appsperiments umbrella, the company has launched three apps, which are fully functional in their own right but are based on new technology that Google will continue to build out over time.
Three new Google Appsperiments
The first app is called Storyboard, available only on Android so far. Here, a user shoots a video on their phone and loads it into the app. The Storyboard app then automatically selects the most visually interesting frames, lays them out and applies one of six different visual styles. In a nutshell, the app can create fun comic strips of your mobile videos and, according to Google, there are approximately 1.6trn different possibilities.
Selfissimo is an iOS and Android offering, which is basically an automated selfie photographer that takes a black-and-white image each time you pose. You tap the screen to start the photoshoot and are encouraged to pose, with the app snapping a picture every time you stop moving. After the photo session, you can review the contact sheet and save either single photographs or the entire photoshoot.
The third in this suite is an app called Scrubbies, which lets you manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to create video loops that highlight actions and facial expressions, and replay particular moments. You shoot a video in the Scrubbies app and then ‘remix it’ by scratching it like a DJ.
The Appsperiments were inspired by the success of Google’s existing Motion Stills app, which creates cinemagraphs and time lapses using experimental stabilisation and rendering technologies.
A multitude of technologies at work
The new apps rely on a vast swathe of technologies, such as object recognition, person segmentation, stylisation algorithms, and efficient image encoding and decoding technologies.
Google explained that it wanted to give people a look at what their smartphone camera could be capable of: “Each of the world’s approximately 2bn smartphone owners is carrying a camera capable of capturing photos and video of a tonal richness and quality unimaginable even five years ago. Until recently, those cameras behaved mostly as optical sensors, capturing light and operating on the resulting image’s pixels.
“The next generation of cameras, however, will have the capability to blend hardware and computer vision algorithms that operate as well on an image’s semantic content, enabling radically new, creative mobile photo and video applications.”
The apps can be downloaded on Google Play or the App Store, depending on your phone’s capabilities.