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Google had a Hangout on Air this morning to announce a heap of improvements to the Google+ experience as well as a new product.
Most of you would know how great Google+is for photographers of all levels, from those starting out and learning through to the seasoned pro, their updates have just made it that much better.
Location sharing has now been enabled for hangouts, so you can share your location and a map at the click of a button. This will make it much easier to organise those meetups or photo walks, being able to send through your exact location on Google Maps. SMS support has been included as well as Animated GIFs. There is also a version of Google’s Auto Awesome being included in the hangouts, so that people who are backlit or in strange lighting conditions can be seen, there are a few other filters to fix and enhance the video feed as well, including black & white versions.
The huge new feature in hangouts though is the new tools that allow you to properly manage your hangouts on air, from volume control of all participants, to being able to eject people if needed. They have also added the long awaited ability to schedule hangouts on air, then promote them with a dedicated watch page.
Full-size backups and background sync has now been enabled on iOS, just a word of warning on this feature, it can really chew through your bandwidth if you don’t have a large data cap. Google have also added deep learning to their system, making it easier to find your highlights and best photos, this extends to searching through your photos too. You can now search for “dog” and it’s smart enough to recognise your dog and show you the relevant photos, very handy, if not a touch creepy.
Snapseed has been given a new effect called HDR Scape, it essentially created a HDR style image out of a single image with a single tap, the examples that they demonstrated worked rather well, although it’s not suitable for all images. As with all Snapseed filters you can turn up and down the intensity of the effect to your taste.
Analog Efex Pro is the newest addition to the Nik Collection (still just US$149), it basically simulates a heap of different cameras, films and processing methods, I’m looking forward to having a play with this plugin personally.
Auto Awesome / Auto Enhance has been given a whole make over with new dials to turn the effects up and down as you see fit, giving you more creative control. It also has a few new auto awesome features when you upload a series of images. It has 3 new modes to add to their already comprehensive features:
Action. Action takes a sequence of photos and turns it into a strobe effect photograph.
Eraser. Ever been to a really busy tourist destination and you can’t get a clear photo without a million tourists in it? Eraser will combine a group of photos and remove anything that is moving, leaving behind what ever wasn’t moving. Very Cool, usually this takes me a good couple of minutes (or more) in photoshop!
Movie. Movie produces a highlight reel from your photos and videos, complete with effects, transitions and a soundtrack. This one is going to be fun to experiment with, the demo that was shown (below) turned out pretty good considering the raw material it had to work with. On top of automatically doing this, you have full control over the editing process to fully customise the video.
Google are certainly doing their best to make sure we keep using Google+, the new features look great.
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