Google Patent Changes Camera Settings Based on Local Weather


Google takes photos pretty seriously. In addition to schmoozing the photography community earlier this week by releasing the entire Nik collection of plugins for only $150, the company also promised to make the cameras in their phones “insanely great.” And a recent patent shows one of the ways Google may go about doing that.

The patent (application number 20130076926 if you’re into that sort of thing) shows that Google is planning to one day connect GPS data to its smartphone cameras in a unique way. Instead of using it for geotagging purposes, your smartphone would use location data to automatically change settings such as white balance and saturation based on local weather info.


Even though settings like white balance are typically adjusted automatically already, getting ambient light data from your local weather forecast could further improve the cameras abilities and yield better photos with no input from the user at all.

It may not be on par with the major sensor improvements we’ve been hearing about recently — and being a patent it may never see the light of day — but it’s a step towards better automatic photography. And that’s a prospect the average smartphone photographer probably won’t be opposed to.

(via Engadget)

Image credit: Google Nexus 4 by John.Karakatsanis

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Wouldn’t there be a number of exceptions for this system though? Imagine shooting outside with the clouds passing by or indoors during daytime with artificial lighting.

  • Leonardo Abreu

    Too bad Android is not that good… At least with cheaper smartphones.

  • Zachery Jensen

    Just because there is a patent for an idea, doesn’t mean it’s not a stupid idea, even from Google. This is pointless. You can’t tell from a weather report what any single photometric setting should be. Nothing. You have to actually measure the light, even in one spot, just moving around, could yield different settings entirely.

    At best, you could record the weather report alongside GPS coordinates at exposure time :)

    Seriously though, it’s not required that a patent actually be effective or actually work at all to be a patent. There are thousands of patents for impossible, laws-of-thermodynamics-breaking contraptions that are actually awarded to people. Patents are just an idea for a method of doing something, not a guarantee that the something is doable or the method is valid.

  • CrackerJacker

    What if I’m sitting in my kid’s talent show in a dark auditorium while the weather says there’s blazing sun outside? Or would Google Maps be incorporated so it would know that, too? (Of course, if it was Apple Maps, it might think I was in Australia…)

  • KH

    Eventually the camera will be able leave the house by itself, and tell you it’s going to go out to photograph stuff.

  • 11

    the purpose of patent is not just to protect your idea.. but to prevent other’s from doing it or extending it.

  • MJR

    I think Blux Camera on iPhone is already doing something similar.