Google’s current smartphones Pixel and Pixel XL have made a good name for themselves, especially in the camera department. It not only boasted of being the highest-rated smartphone camera by DxOMark but also proved its worth in the real world. And if you are wondering how Google managed to pull that off, then we finally have the answer.
Google’s X Team has shared a blog post mentioning that Pixel smartphones’ camera software was originally made for the Google Glass. The software was developed by the team after it came across the situation where it found Glass’ camera sensor to be below par when compared with the smartphone camera technology of that time. It was Google’s plan to have a camera on the Glass which would be at the same level as smartphones.
The actual reason for the below par performance of Glass’ camera was the smaller sensor size because of the device being a smaller one itself. As a result, the X team considered working on the software aspect which resulted in the rise of a new camera software called Gcam.
The team says,
“The Gcam team explored a method called image fusion, which takes a rapid sequence of shots and then fuses them to create a single, higher quality image. The technique allowed them to render dimly-lit scenes in greater detail, and mixed lighting scenes with greater clarity. This meant brighter, sharper pictures overall.”
This software was first brought to smartphones with Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 in the form of the HDR+ mode. While the name of the mode is still the same on Pixel phones, it has now been made the default camera mode.
The team is now planning to explore machine learning and integrate it with Gcam which will help in white balance improvement. It can also help the software in deciding whether to blur, lighten or darken the photo background.