Google’s Photos app has some nifty functions based on its somewhat creepy ability to scan your images and their associated data like dates and times.
For example, it can create small albums by collecting together all the photos you take on a trip to a particular location, or automatically build animations out of similar pictures you’ve taken in quick succession. Here’s one of those animations, built from a few shots I took of a photographer checking the light on St Kilda Beach.
It also adds automatic styling to photos, acting as your artistic editor. How do you like these apples?
It does all of this with a pleasing dose of serendipity, sending an alert to your phone to let you know it has come up with something new after all the work has been done quietly in the cloud.
Some of the output can be a bit pointless, but occasionally it comes up with some rippers.
I recently upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S7. As the Photos app has been busy rolling through the pics taken on my old S5, I’ve been getting a few more alerts than usual.
Today, Photos created a “new panorama” from some pictures I took last month at a closed rehearsal in the Sydney Opera House concert hall. I remember looking up and snapping some photos of the roof design, and then some of the musicians on stage. Google Photos cleverly combined some of the shots and here is the result (best viewed on a mobile device):
Amazing! You can almost hear the Haydn.
Technology is doing some amazing things to photography but there’s no way I would have thought to take a vertical panorama showcasing the working heart of the Opera House. At the same time, it’s creepy that these results come back after Google’s AI platform has clearly spent days and days analysing the content from my phone to create the result.
(As for how I ended up at a closed rehearsal of the SSO, I promise it’s more fun than it sounds. I’m a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Vanguard, a group of young professionals with an interest in music. There are four to five events a year, featuring performances from some SSO musicians, usually in unpredictable locations. Recent examples have been a high-end real estate office and the Sydney Cricket Ground. Occasionally we get to listen to the full orchestra in the Opera House. More details here.)