Google is making some serious strides with Google+ and photography lately. With features like auto backup and auto awesome, they are really trying to become the service of choice for mobile photographers. Auto Awesome in particular has proven quote popular and sparked numerous websites and Google+ pages to share the resulting images.
More features have been added since Auto Awesome was first announced, and now Google has two more to share: sparkles and falling snow. Googler Erik Murphy-Chutorian shared the new features on his Google+ page and says they are available immediately to everyone. Just take a picture with your phone and let it upload to Google+, and if Google's photo algorithms recognize lights or snow, it will add the effect automatically.
In both cases you'll get a notification when your Auto Awesome image is ready. We hope these features will help you celebrate the 'wonder' in winter wonderland!
Google already does extensive image processing to let you search through your photos, so it's not surprising to see features like this added. If you've never tried Google+ image searching, you should, it's very impressive Go to your Google+ photos page and try searching for things like food, grass, sky, etc. and look at the results. Even if your photos aren't tagged, Google still knows what's in most of your pictures, and effects like this are a perfect way to showcase it.
The lights effect works by looking for photos that have small points of light, like Christmas trees, or chandeliers. It might also work with things like nighttime cityscapes, or other pictures where small dots of light are clearly visible. It then simply adds a subtle twinkle effect to the lights which makes the image appear to be sparkling. The effect is remarkably convincing and might be one of the coolest Google+ effects yet.
The snow effect is decidedly less subtle, but no less fun. If Google recognizes a picture of snow, it will add animated falling snow in front of the picture. It doesn't look particularly real, but that's okay, it's still a nice little holiday touch that users will likely appreciate. These effects also showcase what Google can do when it is able to detect the content of pictures. We will probably see a lot more effects like this down the road.
Both new winter effects are available immediately, so go try taking some pictures!