image enhancing software

Screengrab via Google/YouTube

Google reveals new tool that can delete unwanted objects from photos

CEO Sundar Pichai says the feature will be coming "very soon."


Phillip Tracy


Posted on May 17, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 2:04 pm CDT

Google has announced a cool new camera trick that automatically removes unwanted objects from photos. The company demoed the feature at its I/O developer conference earlier today, and the results are pretty impressive.

The photo used during the demonstration showed a chain-link fence obstructing the view of a child playing baseball. With a bit of magic, Google’s algorithms were able to remove the fence and fill in the blank spaces with clues from objects that surround them.

“We can remove the hard work, remove the obstruction, and have the picture of what matters to you, in front of you,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during the opening keynote.

Photo editors like Photoshop and Affinity have intelligent eraser tools that remove objects by blending in nearby colors, but we rarely see the feature built into mobile applications.

As exciting as the idea is, I’m still not 100 percent sold on the photo enhancer. The image used in the demo is pretty straightforward—all of the colors have well-defined outlines, and none of the links in the fence crossed complex structures, like the child’s face. I can see this feature being either a life saver or a massive frustration.

We should be able to find out within the next few months. Google’s CEO said the removal tool will be “coming very soon.”

The company announced a number of new features focused around AI at its I/O conference Wednesday. You can read all about them in our overview article.

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*First Published: May 17, 2017, 5:54 pm CDT