Google would be smart to keep Magic Eraser a Pixel 6 exclusive, at least for a while
Google’s new photo editing feature, “Magic Eraser,” is a very intuitive and good tool, but not revolutionary, some experts say, adding that a host of apps and other phones have similar capabilities. . However, they say that if Google is serious about its hardware advancements, then it should keep the feature exclusive to the Pixel 6 line and future phones, at least for a while.
The new functionality has been a long time coming. First announced in 2017, Magic Eraser will remove unwanted background images using the power of the chip developed in-house by Google, Tensor, and its AI processing capabilities. Tensor will first search for any objects or people in the background of an image (to be deleted) that was taken on a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro or that has been uploaded. Alternatively, you can also manually highlight or circle objects to help Tensor identify what needs to be removed. This feature can also be used for certain images in the foreground of a photo.
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Android Central’s Ara Wagoner and Nick Sutrich both say in their phone reviews that the feature is compelling. Sutrich further states that “functionality is not perfect, but it’s a huge step in the right direction and a great example of how AI can simplify or enable tasks otherwise impossible.”
Mishaal Rahman, senior technical writer at Esper and former editor-in-chief of XDA Developers, agrees in an interview noting that the results of the feature are not perfect and “not representative of what Google teased four years ago. “. But, he says, they’re “more than passable at a glance, especially when viewed on tiny smartphone screens, and that’s more than enough for most people.”
Right now, the feature is exclusive to the Pixel 6 line, which is among the best Android devices. However, Rahman asked in a tweet how long it would take before Google decides to offer Magic Eraser as a premium feature for all Google One subscribers. Google One is a subscription service developed by Google that offers extended cloud storage as well as other premium features.
Magic Eraser serves as a key differentiator between the Pixel 6 range and other Android devices
And although Rahman admits it’s not his job to know about Google’s marketing plans, he says if Google is serious about Pixel hardware, “as they say now, then they should keep this feature exclusive. at Pixel 6 “.
In doing so, Rahman explains that it would serve as a key differentiator between the Pixel 6 line and other devices.
â€œIf Magic Eraser were made available to other devices through, say, a Google One subscription, users wouldn’t be able to take this feature into account when comparing phones before a purchase,â€ he said. declared.
For example, suppose someone considers the Samsung Galaxy S21 over the Pixel 6. In this case, Rahman says it is more interesting to buy the latter because the user would have exclusive access to the Magic Eraser feature.
â€œThis is even more true when another Android device is added to the mix, because unlike Samsung, most other Android device makers don’t offer comparable functionality. Yet if Google did put Magic Eraser into the mix. available to all users with a Google One plan, then that wouldn’t even be a consideration, â€he says.
Jitesh Ubrani, IDC’s Head of Global Device Tracker Research, adds to Rahman’s point by indicating in an interview that of all the latest changes to the Pixel line, Magic Eraser is one that is “demonstrable. and very accessible to consumers â€.
â€œEveryone has taken a photo they want to see improved by erasing part of it,â€ he says. â€œPlus, it’s a unique feature that most other smartphones don’t have right now, and it really sets the Pixel apart from the rest of the pack.â€
Ubrani says he can see Google keeping the feature exclusive to phones, but struggles to see it being part of the Google One subscription service, although it’s a cool feature.
â€œThis is something that is unlikely to be used regularly, and more importantly, it dilutes the value proposition of Pixel phones. Google has a lot more to gain by making a consumer own a Pixel than by making them own a Pixel. pay a small month.The phone provides income and data feed for its entire lifetime of ownership, and it’s a window into other Google services, while a Google One account is much more limited in terms of scope, â€said Jitesh Ubrani of IDC.
And while Anshel Sag, senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, agrees, he notes that if Google were to differentiate the Pixel device with exclusive features, it would have to be a package.
“I don’t think a single feature would accomplish [Google’s seriousness about the Pixel hardware] indeed, it would have to be a suite of features, â€he says.
Avi Greengart, president and senior analyst at Techsponential, says the feature is exclusive to the Pixel 6 line at the moment, and that’s in part because of the Tensor addiction; however, that could change in the future.
â€œGoogle has a lot of ‘Pixel first’ features that debut on the Pixel before being incorporated into mainstream Android versions in the future. Magic Eraser will likely remain a Pixel exclusive for longer due to reliance on silicon. Google Tensor, â€he says. “However, Tensor doesn’t have significantly better AI capabilities than high-end Qualcomm chipsets today, so it may really be more of a product differentiation move than a technical limitation.”
Other manufacturers are likely to improve their hardware to copy Magic Eraser
Currently Samsung is the only major manufacturer to offer a Magic Eraser-like feature called “Object Eraser”, but this feature is not as good as Google’s version, and that’s partly because the latter is the result. of the Tensor chip.
Ubrani says it’s very likely that with Samsung’s One UI 4 there is an opportunity for Object Eraser improvements and upgrades, but doesn’t see it surpassing the success Google has had with this feature.
â€œGoogle’s main advantage is the large collection of images it has amassed through Google Photos. The data pool to which Google applies its machine learning algorithms is much larger and superior to that of any other smartphone maker. . This will remain the key ingredient behind the success of Magic Eraser, â€he says.
“No one has the amount of image data or image quality algorithms that Google does to [Magic Eraser] possible, â€says Anshel Sag.
Sag agrees and goes so far as to say that he would expect Samsung to try to partner with Adobe to implement a better version of Object Eraser rather than trying to duplicate the ability of Google, which “comes from its uniquely trained AI models and rapid inference performance.”
“No one has the amount of image data or image quality algorithms that Google does to [Magic Eraser] possible. Additionally, it will only get smarter as more and more users start using it, which could help Google continue to dominate the competition even if they implement similar capabilities. “, did he declare.
More and more users are carrying the capabilities of Magic Eraser
Most recently, Rahman revealed that a modified APK file is doing the trick that activates Magic Eraser on any compatible Android device. Once installed, this APK tricks your Android phone into thinking you’re using a Pixel 6.
AC’s Andrew Myrick tested this on a Pixel 5 running Android 12, and it works pretty well. However, he says the end results are slightly different from what’s seen on the Pixel 6, mainly because Google Photos doesn’t rely on the Tensor chip.
Rahman notes that the APK file is actually a version of the app that only ships to the Pixel 6 but is ripped from the device and uploaded online for others to download.
â€œAlthough image processing is rather slow on many devices, which suggests that Magic Eraser is at least partially accelerated by the Pixel 6’s Tensor chip, it does work eventually,â€ he says. “I think it is clear that Magic Eraser does not require the Tensor chip to function.”
Leak and tech expert Ishan Agarwal said in an interview that Google Agarwal notes that Google, for the most part, has always kept its camera technology to itself and, as a result, APKs have always appeared.
â€œThis usually happens with all the features that Google brings to its Google Camera app for Pixel phones. Downloading modified APKs was something a lot of people were doing because their phones didn’t have Pixel-quality night mode or Pixel-quality night mode. ‘a better HDR algorithm,’ he said. said.
â€œToday we see brands bringing these features themselves and therefore it has not been necessary to do the same for quite some time. I doubt that many know or care enough about the functionality. until they’ve been introduced to a phone that has it, so I don’t think that’s a motivation for Google to make the feature more widely available. “