The 12.3-megapixel rear cameras on Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones are the highest rated smartphone cameras on DxOMark. The reason why the cameras of Pixel phones are able to shoot amazing photos and videos is that they are powered with a software that was originally made to be used on Google Glass.
When Alphabet’ X wing was working on the Google Glass project, it wanted its camera to be on par with the cameras present on topnotch smartphones. However, the camera sensor of the Google Glass was smaller than the ones that are present on smartphones. It could not intake much light and thereby ended taking poor photos. Hence, the engineers at Google came up with a solution called Gcam that allowed the camera sensor to capture sufficient light and shoot better photos.
Since the engineers could not modify the camera hardware of the Sony IMX378 sensor of the 12.3-megapixel camera, they worked on the improving the software. A new solution called “image fusion” was devised that allowed the camera to capture multiple shots of the same photo in a rapid sequence and combine them together to produce a final image that comprises the best of each photo. Since Gcam works like HDR, it is dubbed as HDR+ by Google.
Gcam made its debut on Google Glass in 2013 and then it arrived as HDR+ on Nexus 5 and 6. Now, it is available as the default camera mode on Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL smartphones. The camera technology from Google is also available on its other products such as Android, YouTube, Google Photos and Jump (360=degree VR rig).
Google is now rumored to be working on Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 smartphones that are reportedly codenamed as Muskie and Walleye. Leaked information has revealed that both phones will be equipped with improved rear cameras that will be able to support advanced low-light photography. On the software side, Google is expected to improve on white balance as well as background effect by letting the software decide whether to blur, darken, or lighten.
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