Here’s What Happened to Google Photo’s Object Removal Feature

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May 11, 2018
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Every year at Google I/O, the tech giant unveils technology that makes everyone think, “what kind of sorcery is this?”, The answer to which is almost always machine learning, AI and its derivatives. This year, we got to see the Google Assistant booking an appointment, some new Android P goodies, a new Maps UI, seamless integration of Lens with the camera app and a few Google Photos improvements (one of them is already live).

Last year, Google Photos demonstrated the ability to automatically remove objects impeding the main subject of a photo. As an example, Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed their object removal algorithm automatically removing a chain link fence occluding a child playing baseball. In typical Google fashion, the company said that the feature would roll out ‘soon’. Well, here we are a year later, and the feature is yet to see the light of day. It isn’t unusual for Google to announce something and completely forget about it, as it has happened multiple times before.

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Till date, there is no official word from Google about the Photos obstruction removal feature. XDA Developers sat down with David Lieb, Product Lead for Google Photos, and Ben Greenwood, Product Manager for Google Photos to find out more about the ill-fated project. What happens next will shock you. Actually, it won’t. It’s pretty anticlimactic.

XDA was told that the object removal feature teased during the 2017 keynote was merely a demonstration of Google’s machine learning capabilities. Furthermore, the technology is available and can be deployed, but they chose not to because they wanted to prioritize what’s most important for people. The team determined that the object removal feature wouldn’t be as important to users as the new machine learning features introduced this week. There is a likelihood of the project getting resurrected sometime in the near future, but the chances seem bleak.

Source: XDA developers

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