Google’s latest Photos trick is a feature it’s calling Magic Editor, which uses generative AI to let you make major edits to a photo without professional tools. The company revealed the feature at Google I/O 2023.
Google shared a couple examples of Magic Editor in action that are both pretty cool. In one, a photo of a person in front of a waterfall, Google entirely moves the person further to the side of the photo, erases people in the background, and makes the sky a prettier blue. Watch this GIF to see it all happen:
In another photo, Magic Editor scoots a child on a bench closer to the middle of the photo, which generates “new” parts of the bench and balloons to the left to fill in the space. In this example, Google again makes the sky more vibrant. Check it out in this GIF:
It’s impressive stuff — and a logical next step from photo features like Photo Unblur and Magic Eraser. It’s also not quite perfect given leftover artifacts like creases from the bag strap in the waterfall photo and a misplaced shadow under the bench in the second. But perhaps most importantly, it’s just the latest opportunity to think about what a “photo” even is anymore — a question that’s become ever more common given things like the iPhone 14 Pro’s ramped-up sharpening and Samsung’s faked Moon photos.
You don’t have to worry about trying to parse which photos are cleaned up with Magic Editor just yet: Google says the feature will be coming later this year. The company says the feature will be available on “select Pixel phones” in “early access” — maybe that means it will be exclusive to the rumored Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.