x PhoneArena is looking for new authors! To view all available positions, click here.
  • Home
  • News
  • Google Camera now available in the Play Store, brings Photo Spheres and Lens Blur

Google Camera now available in the Play Store, brings Photo Spheres and Lens Blur

Posted: , by Michael H.

Tags:

Google Camera now available in the Play Store, brings Photo Spheres and Lens Blur
We had heard a rumor recently that Google was preparing to release its own camera app into the Google Play Store. Today, Google has released the Google Camera into the Play Store, bringing a new UI and other nice features, though it doesn't seem to have everything that had been rumored, specifically it doesn't have hooks for 3rd party developers. However, it does offer pretty nice features overall.

The big addition compared to the stock camera apps that we've seen in Android is with a feature called "Lens Blur". The idea here is to allow anyone to take a picture with a nice bokeh effect, which is usually hard to do on a smartphone. The HTC One M8 has added a second camera to be able to offer this effect, but of course Google has found a software solution. The solution is actually quite simple: after taking a photo with a clear subject, just rotate the device upwards a bit and Google does the rest. It's not as simple as just tapping the shutter button, but it works well enough and means you don't need to buy a specific device just to get that. There's a cool writeup on how this feature was created at the Google Research Blog.

The other big feature in Google's camera is Photo Spheres. This was a feature that Google added to Android in 4.2, but many manufacturers (including the Google-owned Motorola) removed the feature from their camera apps. Now, as long as you can install the Google Camera (which does require Android 4.4), you can take Photo Spheres. Google has also improved the Panorama function with higher quality images. 

The UI changes aren't really all that big, and are really the worst part of the app. The different image modes (Photo Sphere, Pano, Lens Blur, Camera, and Video) are accessible with a swipe from the left, and the gallery is accessible with a swipe from the right, as usual. The trouble is that other functions like flash and switching to the front camera have been hidden in an overflow menu. And, extra controls are still painfully thin. This is a camera for quick shots and not much else. One nice addition to the UI is in the Video mode, if you are holding the phone in portrait mode, there is a continuous animation telling you to rotate the device to landscape, because there really is almost nothing worse than portrait-oriented videos. 

As mentioned, you need to have a device running Android 4.4 in order to get the Google Camera, so that limits its reach right now. 


Download: Google Camera

39 Comments
  • Options
    Close




posted on 16 Apr 2014, 15:33

1. josephnero (Posts: 305; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


Nice surprise.thanks PA

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 15:43 7

2. akki20892 (Posts: 3438; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Nice surprise, thanks Google.

Love it new UI on my nexus 5

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 15:56 2

6. bestmvno (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Mar 2014)


I don't like that I no longer have access to settings for exposure adjustment. I do find the UI to be improved with written descriptions of each camera option.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:05 1

11. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Go under settings and you will find it on advance settings

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:08 2

12. minnonoman (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Feb 2014)


You actually have access to expoture but it's by some reason disabeled at first. You have to go into settings (you have a setting button when choosing cameramode) then go into advanced and turn on manual expoture.
Edit: to late:)

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:18

18. bestmvno (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Mar 2014)


Thanks. I did not even notice that there was a gear there and the buried extra options. I would like to know the reason behind having that disabled in the first place.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 15:57 1

7. surethom (Posts: 256; Member since: 04 Mar 2009)


Yes but still no option for aspect ratio to either 16:9 or 4:3 my phone, tablet & TV are widescreen I want widescreen photos.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:00 1

8. draconic1991 (Posts: 131; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)


And im stuck with my s3 at 4.3....now i want the kitkat update even more...

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:04 1

10. akki20892 (Posts: 3438; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Guys try this app. Candy Camera for Photoshop.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 15:43 1

3. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1287; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


Mine's been auto-updated. Much better than the previous app.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 15:52

4. surethom (Posts: 256; Member since: 04 Mar 2009)


Still missing the most important feature, aspect ratio, all the devices in the world are widescreen, so why STILL no 16:9 option, we NEED a 6megapixel 16:9 option for the nexus 5.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:18 1

17. sprockkets (Posts: 1160; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Most camera's aren't native widescreen, they are simply cropping.

If you had the option to choose different ratios before it should still be available.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:36

20. surethom (Posts: 256; Member since: 04 Mar 2009)


Hi yes i know that this is done with cropping & no the previous google native camera app did not have any option for cropping apart for a 2megapixel widescreen option which was useles

There is no option in google camera for aspect ratio on the Nexus 5 just 3 Photo sizes all 4:3, cropping the picture is always best for showing on widescreen phones, tablets, laptops & widescreen tvs

posted on 17 Apr 2014, 06:45

34. MobileGuru (Posts: 78; Member since: 18 Jan 2014)


That's why he said 6mp and not 8mp.

posted on 05 Jun 2014, 10:01

39. aboudo_o (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Dec 2013)


I have nexus 5 kitkat 4.4.3 and I have the latest camera version and I have the 16:9 option, it has been updated like a week ago.. you can find it in the options by sliding from left to right and you will be able to adjust the ratio.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 15:53 1

5. redbaronk12 (Posts: 26; Member since: 14 Dec 2013)


Loving the new UI on my Nexus 5. Much more intuitive.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:14

14. Commentator (Posts: 2402; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


What??? You mean you DIDN'T like having to press and hold to access the settings only to find out that it didn't work for some reason and you'd have to do it again???

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:04

9. jckc92 (Posts: 25; Member since: 28 Nov 2012)


Where is it located in the store??? I have a new Maxx phone from Motorola..Does it improve quality at all?

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:11 2

13. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


My thoughts on this:

-Has no burst shot
-20 mp quality is fine(looks overall was just as nice as the stock Z1 camera)
-no support for SD is a bummer
-the photospheres get better stitching than before (compared to the APK)
-new mode is cool (a bit hard to pull but really cool)
-no HDR for non nexus (at least not the z1)
-no taking pictures while recording a video

Not bad for a first time, as it updates it will become better and better at it, I can see myself using it for regular shots

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:17

15. Commentator (Posts: 2402; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


For camera-centric phones it's nothing special, but for camera-challenged phones like the Nexus 5 it's a Godsend.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:22

19. magnanimus (Posts: 291; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


It's not meant to be professional. It's just a point and shot that will prove reliable in time of haste.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 17:52

23. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I'm not saying its bad, It will be updated faster than most cameras and will have a great performance on the long run

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:43

21. surethom (Posts: 256; Member since: 04 Mar 2009)


Do you have an option for 16:9 as on Nexus 5 there is NO option only 4:3 in 8mp, 3.1mp & 1.9mp. Very Poor, we need a 16:9 option at 6megapixel Google.....

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 18:02

26. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


no, or at least I haven't seen it

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 19:01

28. solidsnake695 (Posts: 48; Member since: 04 Jan 2013)


if u are experiencing grainy pics in the google app in 20.7 mp cuz its sonys algorithm is wrong if u see in details the iso is set at 800 all times in the Google app too thats cuz of faulty algorithm by sony

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 21:27

30. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I don't think I said that, I said it was almost the same as the Z1 (witch improved a bit on shots since 4.4) took a night shot and liked the result on the Google camera better

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 16:18

16. magnanimus (Posts: 291; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


I tipped PA and didn't even get an email :'(

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 17:31

22. Liveitup (Posts: 1206; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


Sounds quite similar to Nokias camera app.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 17:57

24. 1ceTr0n (Posts: 505; Member since: 20 May 2012)


No support for SD = completely useless. Sticking with sammy's

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 18:01

25. bwhiting (Posts: 169; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)


So far to me it actually is working out well. Not much issue on my end and actually looks a bit better for the interface than my Motorolo Ultra one that I already had on the phone.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 18:32

27. baldilocks (Posts: 507; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)


Do NOT like the wasted screen space. I don't know who Google has designing apps and their UI lately, but they have NO sense of design.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 19:34

29. deathgod (Posts: 120; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


"This item is not available in your country"......Google really needs to make the playstore region-free or better yet include the caribbean in North America. I'm so tired of seeing that message and only being able to purchase (some) apps, and not movies/book/music etc.

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 21:59

31. kryme (Posts: 140; Member since: 24 Oct 2013)


it wont install on GN with the lastest cyanogen build :-(

posted on 17 Apr 2014, 01:21

32. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2980; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Google Spy Camera is not compatible with Cyanogen. Sorry.

posted on 17 Apr 2014, 11:05

36. bestmvno (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Mar 2014)


have you resolved this? What happens when you try and install? It installed fine on my N5 running PAC which uses a CM kernel

posted on 17 Apr 2014, 03:26

33. Crossblade (Posts: 190; Member since: 21 Apr 2005)


Finally high quality Panorama! The one until now was the most useless thing I have seen in recent years - not only low res (2mp) but also with very poor quality (colors, etc).

posted on 17 Apr 2014, 11:06

37. bestmvno (Posts: 146; Member since: 07 Mar 2014)


I was happy about that too. Still need to work on stitching though. I get some weird shots from time to time where images dont quite align right.

posted on 17 Apr 2014, 08:22

35. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


Thus is why I prefer Android over any other platforms, for the most part you get key changes via play store or ply services like camera, keyboard, maps, play store, Android device manager etc etc where as if other platforms want to. Change ui or add new features it has to do a full of update or call. It a major release. Example rumors for ios8 include new siri Stuff, new maps, something to do with music player and google can update its equivalent apps like Google now, maps via play store and not call. It Android 5.0

posted on 18 Apr 2014, 06:46

38. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 851; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


iPhone users are the #1 offenders when it comes to portrait videos. Good luck telling them that they're doing it wrong...

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories