Google Activates Pixel Visual Core For Pixel 2 Phones, Third-Party Apps

06 February, 2018, 15:40 | Author: Larry Hoffman
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The custom SoC is built by Google and allows for faster, low-power image processing.

Google is now enabling the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL's not-so-secret Pixel Visual Core for third-party apps, including but not limited to Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, through a software update.

The technology essentially uses Google's computational photography and machine learning to improve photo quality.

"Until today, when you took a picture through those apps, you couldn't get the highest quality HDR+ that you can on the main Pixel camera, because that algorithm is very compute-intensive and those apps require a very snappy reaction", Ofer Shacham, senior staff engineer on Pixel, told i.

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"Later this week, we are adding new Augmented Reality (AR) Stickers themed around winter sports".

The improved imaging will be rolling out over the next few days and for starters, the partner apps that will be able to use the processor include Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.

As noted in our detailed overview, Pixel Visual Core is Google's very first in-house chipset, created to compile HDR+ images five times faster than an application processor.

It's become clear that Google worked with Intel on Pixel Core, but it's the first mobile silicon that Google has essentially designed itself. We wanted to make sure we improved on all aspects - not only image quality, but performance and power.

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Same pictures taken without (left) and with HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core (right).

This other example shows the downside, however, as the less-exposed, Visual Core-deprived shot appears more atmospheric and pleasing to the eye.

However, Google was sneaky this time around when they made a decision to add hardware inside the Pixel 2, dubbed the Pixel Visual Core. The feature will be rolled out via the February monthly update.

Another perk that all Pixel 2 users will now benefit from is what Google calls RAISR, a machine learning algorithm that smooths over your zoomed-in shots that are inherently more prone to noise and other visual artifacts.

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