Third-party apps on the Pixel 2 won’t take awful photos anymore

Google’s special technology to improve photos taken on the Pixel 2 is opening up for all developers.

Pixel Visual Core, which launched with the latest flagship last year, is being turned on with Android’s February update. It’ll allow third-party apps to take advantage of “computational photography and machine learning” to improve image quality beyond the Camera app. Normally you’d only get the absolute best image quality using Google’s in-house app, but the update unlocks the technology for everyone else.

Specifically, you’ll notice photos are brighter, more detailed, and clearer. Pixel Visual Core, according to Google, handles the “heavy-lifting image processing” while being efficient and preserving life.

Some of the third-party apps you’ll want to try out with Pixel Visual Core are Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. The most noticeable difference will probably be found on Snapchat. Over the last few years Snap has implemented a workaround that, while making development easy, made content look a lot worse on Android than iOS.

Here’s a sample of the difference you may see:

Notice that the photo on the right, taken without HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core, comes out too dark. It’s when HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core is activated that Google’s technology turns an otherwise useless photo into something decent.

AR Stickers, too, are being updated. The inaugural pack of augmented reality-based stickers is getting a winter sports theme just in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Included in the latest sticker pack is skiers, skaters, hockey players, and more.

These updates involving the Pixel Visual Core and AR Stickers will be rolling out in the coming days.

 GOOGLE