Google has launched their own standalone camera app called Google Camera now available on the Google Play Store for Android smartphones and tablets running Android 4.4 KitKat.
The new app is slightly different from the stock camera app found on devices running a stock Android installation like the company’s Nexus devices. It features a sleeker interface with a “100% viewfinder” that “gets out of your way” and a larger capture button for easier handling.
Google is also including a few interesting features including Lens Blur and Photo Sphere as well as making improvements to panoramic photos.
Lens Blur, a feature that’s been popping up a lot lately, allows the user to choose to blur the background or the foreground even after taking the shot. This allows for shots with a shallow depth-of-field.
“Lens Blur replaces the need for a large optical system with algorithms that simulate a larger lens and aperture. Instead of capturing a single photo, you move the camera in an upward sweep to capture a whole series of frames. From these photos, Lens Blur uses computer vision algorithms to create a 3D model of the world, estimating the depth (distance) to every point in the scene. Here’s an example — on the left is a raw input photo, in the middle is a “depth map” where darker things are close and lighter things are far away, and on the right is the result blurred by distance.”
Google has also improved panoramic shots by increasing the resolution as well as introduced Photo Spheres which lets users take 360-degree photos that are up to 50 megapixels large. Photo Sphere used to be a Nexus-only feature but with this new app, devices from other manufacturers will now be able to use it.
The release of this new app makes Google’s camera system available to devices from brands like Samsung, HTC, and LG that usually replaces the stock camera system with their own. The company also announced that it plans to make the Google Camera app available to more devices.