Google Photos will soon be able to automatically add colour to old black and white photos

Google/Business Insider

Google wants to super-charge your old family photos.

On Tuesday, the Californian tech giant held its annual I/O developer conference and made a flurry of announcements. Among them are additions to Google Photos, its photo-storage app – including a cool new feature that will use artificial intelligence to automatically add colour to old black-and-white photos on demand.

With a tap, a photo will go from monochrome to glorious colour, based on the colours Google’s AI thinks is most appropriate.

Here’s a demo of how it looks in action:

The feature is still in development, Google said in a blog post, an isn’t available to ordinary users just yet. But it is introducing other new features in Google Photos, like the ability to automatically turn the background of photos to black-and-white, and offering prompts for actions and tweaks based on the contents of a photo (like suggesting you send a photo of someone to the subject.)

The colorizing feature seems certain to be a popular one. There are already entire communities online dedicated to colorizing old photos. The Reddit community r/ColorizedHistory has more than 360,000 members, and share full-colour edits of classic photos from history, from Albert Einstein to John F. Kennedy.

These are painstaking works of art, and Google Photos seems unlikely to be able to match their often-perfect reproductions (at least at first) – but for people who want to view their old family photos in a new light, it could be revolutionary.

More highlights from Google I/O 2018:

Google unveiled a new ‘experiment’ that will impersonate a human to make restaurant reservations for you over the phone

YouTube will start bugging you if you binge too much – and it’s getting a new feature to make you less addicted

Google’s CEO kicked off the big Google event by apologizing about the inaccurate burger emoji on Android – then he showed off the new design

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