For almost two years now, Google has been automatically enhancing the photos you upload to Google+; starting today it will do (almost) the same with videos, too.
It won’t do this automatically, though. Instead, whenever Google now thinks it can improve a video you upload, a banner will appear in the Google+ web app that asks you if you want to preview the potential changes. You can also opt to apply these automatic enhancements to any other video you upload to Google+ Photos (either directly or through Auto Backup) on a case-by-case basis.
As Google engineer Tim St. Clair writes today, the new Google+ feature will be able to automatically enhance lighting, color and stability. Coming soon, it’ll also enhance speech in videos.
The new feature is now available in Google+ on Mac, Windows and ChromeOS (you can find it behind the ‘More’ menu, as well as in the Google+ Photos app.
Google automatically renders a low-res, side-by-side preview of your improved and unimproved videos once you opt to give it a try. At a rather blurry 240p (see above), that’s not necessarily the best way to preview these changes, but given that these enhancements take a bit of compute power, it’s likely the only way to show them to you in a reasonable time.
While Google hasn’t prompted me to auto-enhance any videos yet, I’ve tried it on a few videos I’ve uploaded to Google+ over the last few months and it does indeed make a difference.
Reasonable people can argue about the success of Google+ as a social network, but there can be little doubt that Google+ Photos has always been one of the most interesting and innovative aspects of the service.
As more and more people now also take videos with their smartphones, it makes sense for Google to bring some of the technologies it has developed for photos (and YouTube) to these private videos, as well. Google has long offered a similar feature for YouTube users, so there is likely some overlap between the two systems here. While YouTube offers the option to “auto-fix” videos, though, it doesn’t automatically prompt its users to do this for them. YouTube also offers a number of manual tools for changing contrast, saturation and color temperature that Google+ doesn’t currently offer.
Google’s announcement today comes only a few days after Facebook announced that it now also started auto-enhancing images that its users upload to its servers. That face that Google announced this new feature today is likely a coincidence, but it’s an interesting one.