Google’s Magic Eraser saves us from photo bombs


Computer photography is amazing, but it’s still difficult to come up with in a usable form. Google is now offering MagicEraser as part of their new Pixel 6 phone, and it looks like it will turn anyone into a monkey who claims that photos never lie.

Google has been working on AI approaches for photography for a long time, but we finally have an app that does something amazing. Magic Eraser can remove objects from photos. You don’t need the usual complex editing tools that can get the job done in the digital darkroom. This app runs on the phone and it doesn’t seem to require a lot of skill. All you have to do is apply it to a photo and see what it identifies as objects that could be better removed. You can accept the suggestions, or you can tap them one by one and watch them disappear.

Details of how it works or what capabilities it has haven’t been made clear, but we did have the following comment:

Magic Eraser can detect distractions in your photos, such as: B. Background people, power lines and utility poles, suggesting what they might want to remove.

If auto-detection doesn’t work well enough, you can swipe or circle the object and the app will see where the object’s boundaries are.

Notice that two things happen – object recognition and in-painting. The boundary of an object is detected in real time and the app determines how the information in the rest of the image can be used to paint the object once the object has been removed. Obviously, this is the kind of thing neural networks are good at, but there is no indication of what technique is used.

This puts another nail in the coffin of the idea that a photo is evidence that something happened in a certain way. Google says it only works well on background objects – probably because in-painting relies on the statistics of the background and in-painting a foreground is more difficult. This means that you will likely need the help of an expert in attempting to remove a former political ally who has now fallen out of favor.

That means you don’t have to worry so much about taking photos – you can remove those annoying bits later. It also means Android photography is superior to iPhone photography – for now. It’s also not clear if this will be made available to a wider Android user base, and not just Pixel 6 owners.


More information

Photo bombs disappear in Google Photos with Magic Eraser

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