We already know how widely popular photography apps are with the smartphone users. The recently released list of most popular apps by Apple and Google for the App Store and Play Store respectively has proved that photography apps top the list. Not all default cameras of the smartphone are meant to take extraordinary pictures. For that purpose, photography apps are developed, allowing users to take stunning pictures in ways that the default camera usually cannot.
Some of these photo apps focus majorly on one element of photography such as adding filters to the pictures or simply editing them. For example, Microsoft’s Hyperlapse app allows users to capture time-lapse videos whereas Google Motion stills make use of the electronic image stabilization tool to minimize shakes in videos. Each of these photography apps come with their own purpose.
Recently, Google has also joined the bandwagon of photography apps and have launched its very own three free experimental Google photo apps called Storyboard (Android), Selfissimo (iOS and Android), and Scrubbies (iOS). Launched as a part of a new ‘appsperiments’ program, these photo apps are different from one another and come with a distinct purpose of their own.
In fact, the new ‘appseriments’ program was inspired by the company’s Motion Stills app, which was launched last year with the aim of taking technology in development from Google and turning it into actual apps. Just like Motion Stills app, the new experimental Google photo apps are equipped with a fully functional software but are ‘built on experimental technology’ that the company intends to continue to build out over some period of time.
A similar approach is also followed by Microsoft’s Garage program. As per this program, developers working at the Redmont company are offered a chance to create similar smaller, experimental apps.
As per Google, the three new experimental photo apps have been developed in-house by the team of the Google Research Department using advanced camera tools such as person segmentation, object recognition, stylization algorithms and efficient image encoding and decoding.
Google is not the first company to experiment with photo apps. In fact, Facebook’s MSQRD app and Instagram’s Boomerang and Layout are some of the examples of photo apps with an exclusive set of features allowing users to be more creative with their photos and videos.
The Three Free Experimental Google Photo Apps
As discussed above, Google has launched three free experimental photo apps. Let’s study them in detail.
This Google photo app for Android goes by the name Storyboard. It has the ability to convert videos into a series of photos laid out like a comic book style template. It automatically selects interesting videos frames from the videos uploaded by the users and then applies one of the six styles available on it. Users also have an option of saving a particular photo/frame on the device if they want to share it later on social media with their friends and followers.
With the help of simple swipe down gesture from the top of the screen, this photo app lets users change the frames quickly with another set of photos.
Interestingly, Google claims that the app can show the set of frames in 1.6 trillion different ways. How cool is that? However, to see more frame options, your uploaded videos needs to be slightly longer having multiple unique frames.
The reason why Storyboard has an edge over other photo apps like Prisma is that it is not dependent on the internet connection to apply filters to the videos. In fact, it works offline and doesn’t require an internet connection at any point.
The app is quite small in size and requires only 85MB of space to install on your Android phone. Furthermore, it comes with a simple and minimalistic interface with only one button to load the videos. Once you tap the button, the video gallery from where your videos will be loaded in any file size and format will be opened. We experimented this app by loading a video of over 1GB and it took only a few seconds for the app to process it.
Selfissimo, as the name suggests, is a distinct camera app that has been made especially for the selfie lovers. What differs this photo app from the regular selfie apps is the ease with which it removes the shutter button altogether out of the equation. The users do not have to tap every time on the shutter button to click a selfie.
What users have to do is only pose for a selfie and the app will continue clicking pictures. By tapping anywhere on the phone screen, they can stop the session and then save the entire session or a particular picture on their smartphone.
For group selfies, this app can come in really handy. Usually one of the users has to hold the smartphone by stretching out one hand to accommodate everyone in the photo frame and then somehow shift the camera at the last moment to tap the shutter button. By using this selfie app, they do not have to shift the camera anywhere. Just strike a pose in front of the camera and let the app do its work.
Similar to the Storyboard app, this photo app also comes with a single Start button and has a simple layout. The only major downside to this selfie app is that it can only capture images in black and white mode. There are no color modes available to it. The addition of interesting filters or stickers which selfie fans are most used to while taking selfies is also missing in this app.
It has the ability to work offline and takes up 95MB of space after getting installed on the smartphone. Since it works on both Android and iOS, this app can be installed from both the Play Store and App Store.
Scrubbies, which is only limited to iOS as of now, lets users change the speed and direction in a video playback to create video loops replaying specific moments in it.
Users can shoot a video using this app and then play it backward by simply swiping with one finger on the mobile screen. If they swipe the screen using two fingers, the same video will be recorded in a loop and then get saved in the phone gallery.
Like Storyboard and Selfissimo, this app also works offline and requires 30MB of space to install on your iOS device. Google photo app for iPhone can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.