The first smartphone I owned that was capable of taking an impressive picture under less than ideal conditions was released in 2011, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. Since then, smartphone cameras have come a long, long way. Billions of photographs are taken on our smartphones and one of the innovative features of Google+ is the ability to upload these images into your own, secure area online using the Google+ Auto Backup function. If you want unlimited storage, you may have to accept a loss of quality, but then Google+ has also been doing clever things with uploaded photographs too. We’ve had the automatic image enhancement applied to our uploaded photographs for a couple of years, plus Auto Awesomes too.
Today, Google is opening up the automatic enhancement system to uploaded videos too. However, unlike photographs, automatic enhancement won’t be automatic (at least, not at first) but instead, when viewing these clips in the Web application and Google believes it can enhance it, it’ll pop up a banner to let you know. The algorithms used are designed to improve lighting, color and image stability with an improvement to speed clarity planned in the coming months. The system appears to follow in the footsteps of YouTube’s auto-fix option for videos, but one difference is that YouTube doesn’t prompt users if it believes it can improve the image. YouTube also offers manual control over contrast, saturation and color settings, which are absent from the Google+ video enhancement service. Again, we may see further developments with this and perhaps the functionality of the YouTube and Google+ video enhancements will be merged at some point.
Google automatically renders a low-quality side-by-side video showing the changes, but this is only at 240p so it may be difficult to show much of an improvement, depending on what your video is. It’s understandable as to why the preview is only at 240p, because enhancing a video requires plenty of processor power and bandwidth. This is another area that may be improved in the months to follow, but have a look to see what Google’s system manages so far in the video below. Do you use the Google+ Auto Upload function on your Android (or even iOS) devices? If so, how often do you keep the automatically enhanced versions of photographs? Are you looking forward to the enhanced video function? Let us know in the comments below.