Google Unveils 3 Experimental Photo Apps For Smartphones

Google has created a trio of apps that utilize experimental technology in a bid to push forward the possibilities of smartphone photography and videography. The apps — Storyboard, Selfissmo!, and Scrubbies — use techniques like smart object recognition and person segmentation algorithms similar to Portrait Mode to enable creative editing of images and video.

Storyboard — which is available only on Android — applies a comic book style effect to your videos. It works by analyzing your video and grabbing still frames at interesting points. It then lays them out in a single-page comic layout and applies a stylization algorithm that yields a different result every time you swipe down on the screen to refresh it.

Selfissmo! is an app to assist in taking selfies, and is available on both iOS and Android. Once launched, the app snaps a black and white photo of you every time it recognises that you have changed your pose and stopped moving, without you needing to trigger the shutter yourself.

It also offers encouragement during your photo shoot, displaying small platitudes such as “Radiant!”, “Fabulous!”, and “Superb!”. The app collates these photos into a contact sheet from which they can be saved or shared.

The third app is named Scrubbies, and is available only for iOS. Scrubbies allows you to manually create a looped video by scrubbing through it to alter the speed and direction. The end result is a shareable video loop similar to Instagram’s Boomerang, but with complete control over the output.

Over on its research blog, Google says that the “‘appsperimental’ approach was inspired in part by Motion Stills, an app developed by researchers at Google that converts short videos into cinemagraphs and time lapses using experimental stabilization and rendering technologies.

“Our appsperiments replicate this approach by building on other technologies in development at Google,” the company writes. “They rely on object recognition, person segmentation, stylization algorithms, efficient image encoding and decoding technologies, and perhaps most importantly, fun!”

We can look forward to more of these experimental apps from Google as they continue to develop their mobile photography technology alongside the impressive hardware in their smartphones.