Monthly Archives: October 2015

Animation: “The Wisdom of Pessimism”

I’m not sure I buy the message, but I love the illustrations:

From the Motionographer interview:

For his directorial debut, Claudio Salas took on an ambitious challenge: a 2-minute visual essay for the philosopher Alain de Botton’s School of Life project.

What began as a simple Twitter exchange snowballed into a massive collaborative effort involving over 30 people. Their disparate styles and techniques combined for a whimsical “variety show” aesthetic that’s full of surprises while still feeling coherent.


Google Photos improves face search, GIF sharing, & more on Android

Good stuff has arrived in the latest version (1.8). According to the team post,

  • Hide a person from appearing under People. This also prevents events with that person from appearing in “Rediscover this day” cards in the Assistant.
  • Face search is available in more countries: Face grouping will be available in Latin America, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, and New Zealand. It will also be available in parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
  • When viewing search results, pinch to zoom in and out.
  • Spooky fast performance improvements and bug fixes.

You can also save animated GIFs as videos (as you already could on iOS) to enable sharing them via Instagram, WhatsApp, and more.

German & Arabic speakers: Help Google help refugees

Your translation skills can make a real difference:

From the team blog:

Just this year, we saw a 5X growth in Arabic translations in Germany, which got us thinking about what we could do to make our products work better for Arabic speakers in these places. We’ve since added Arabic as our 28th language for instant visual translation, enabling immediate, offline translation of signs and other printed text from English or German to Arabic. We’re also asking anyone who knows the languages spoken by refugees or the countries they’re traveling through to help us improve translations through Google Translate Community.


Snapseed goes raw! DNG support arrives on Android.

I’m delighted to say that DNG files, shot directly on Android phones or converted from other formats, can now be edited in Google Snapseed for Android. When you open these images in the new Snapseed 2.1 (rolling out now, so please check back in the Play Store if it’s not yet available where you are), a new Develop filter module gives you great control over highlights, shadows, and white balance—just as you’d expect when working with raw.

Some phones can shoot DNG photos in the phone’s built-in camera app, including LG G4, HTC One M9, OnePlus One, Oppo N1, Oppo N3, and Oppo Find 7. Others require a third-party camera app to shoot DNGs, including the Samsung S6, Samsung S6 Edge, Nexus 5, and Nexus 6. Devices need at least 1.5GB of RAM & good OpenGL support.

Happy shooting, and please let us know what you think!

Raw vs jpeg

A 97-year-old woman discovers Google Photos

“This might be my all-time favorite press briefing I’ve done,” says David Lieb, who leads the PM team for Photos. Google granted the wish of 97-year-old Olive Horrell, who dreamed of being an engineer but was discouraged from pursuing that career. She recently visited campus, had her “mind blown” by Photos, tried her hand at drawing a Google Doodle, and road around in a self-driving car. Man, I’m kinda jealous, and I work here! 🙂 Makes me wonder what kind of campus tour I (or more likely my disembodied essence) might get in 50-odd years.


NY Times partners with Google on virtual reality storytelling

Wow—I’m really eager to see how this project develops:

The New York Times announced on Tuesday a virtual reality project in collaboration with Google, which will include the distribution of more than a million cardboard VR viewers to subscribers.

The New York Times Magazine will release a new virtual reality film, called “The Displaced,” about children uprooted by war. It can be watched with the cardboard viewers, which are used with a smartphone and will be sent to home delivery subscribers on the weekend of Nov. 7. Some digital subscribers will receive codes by email to redeem for a free viewer.

Using Google Photos in a time of grief

Like an unfortunate number of friends’ families recently, we recently lost a loved one. I thought I’d briefly share a couple of things that worked well for us.

  • In Google Photos search, you can tap on a person’s face to see all your pictures of him or her, then select a number of them and tap the share icon to create a sharable gallery.
  • Friends & family viewing the gallery can download these images, or if they’re logged in with a Google account, add the images to their own Photos library with one click. This makes it really easy to gather together content (e.g. to make a memorial book or video). Before this feature was available, I guided a friend through a patchwork process of trying to get things via email, Drive, etc. The new approach is far simpler, and in the near future, collaborative albums will make it simpler still.
  • Discovering animations that feature your loved one can be a surprisingly moving experience.
  • A friend asked how to make a memorial video for her dad. You can do so directly in Photos (select images/videos, tap the “+” icon on iOS or Android, and tap “Movie”), or you can download content to your Mac or PC, browse it via Picasa, and make a face movie or regular movie using whatever music you’d like. (Select images, then choose Create->Movie.)

The circumstances mean that these tasks aren’t exactly fun, but I’ve found that the results can be very meaningful.