Google’s camera app has long been one of the unique selling points of its own-brand smartphones, and now the latest version has provided us with an exciting sneak peek into what the next Pixel models might have to offer.
Code hidden within version 7.5 of the Google camera app, recently revealed by 9to5Google, reveals a range of currently-disabled camera features likely destined for future Pixel models. These include Motion Blur, Audio Zoom, Flash Intensity and new direct video sharing options.
The new Motion Blur option is expected to appear alongside the Night Sight, Time Lapse and Photo Sphere settings, but there’s little information on what the feature actually does. Will it add motion blur for creative purposes, or remove it to produce sharper images? Only time will tell.
The Audio Zoom feature is more clearly defined, bearing the description “Boost the sound where the user is zooming in on” and is presumably designed to cut out extraneous peripheral sounds from zoomed-in video recordings.
Flash Intensity appears to allow the brightness of the built-in flash to be adjusted. There’s no further detail provided about this feature, but adjustable flash power could enable you to take better-looking photos by adjusting the balance between the on-board flash and any available ambient light. Light from a flash is generally harsher and less flattering than natural light, so using only the minimum intensity required should deliver significant improvements.
Finally, Google’s new video sharing options will allow you to shoot a video clip and immediately share it to any of a list of twenty-five social media and chat services, including Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Twitter and WhatsApp.
In addition to these new features, the names of Google’s next-gen smartphones are also revealed in the app code. The ‘Pixel 4a’, ‘Pixel 4a (5G)’ and ‘Pixel 5’ are all explicitly named but, as expected, there’s no mention of any ‘XL’ flagship this year.
Some of these new features have been in development for some time, so it’s not known when, or if, they might actually become available However, no Pixel smartphone launch would be complete without at least one fancy new camera feature, so it’s likely that we’ll see at least some of these new functions at Google’s forthcoming launch.
Google has always gone its own way when it comes to cameras, and usually with stellar results. However, with the Pixel 4a facing continuing delays, the expected switch from flagship to mid-range hardware for the Pixel 5 and the recent loss of its lead Camera Engineer to Adobe, Google is really going to have to pull something special out of the bag this year if the Pixel range is to remain relevant.