Previously Pixel-only capabilities are also available on other smartphones for a fee.

For Google One, Google Photos gets new paywalled editing features


Google is making some of its fancy, Pixel-exclusive editing capabilities available to all Android devices today, but there's a catch: if you don't have a Pixel, you'll need to be a paid Google One subscriber to access them.

The paywalled editing capabilities have been speculated for a while, but the latest software was officially announced today. Google is bringing some of its more recent machine-learning-powered editing technologies, such as improved Portrait Blur, Portrait Light, and Color Pop, to a wider audience, which it first introduced alongside the Pixel 5 last fall.

When the paywall was first discovered, Google told The Verge that current versions of features like Portrait Blur and Color Pop will be available to free Google Photo users. The latest version of those features, which work for newer images that have depth data, including a portrait mode image, will continue to work with everybody.

The new Pixel- and subscription-only edition, on the other hand, hopes to take it a step further by allowing users to add certain effects to older images that don't have the depth data (thanks to machine learning). Whether or not Pixel users belong to Google One, they will still have free access to the features.

Along with the latest editing features, Google is also introducing new AI-powered filters, including a new "dynamic" option that automatically boosts brightness and contrast, as well as "sky recommendations," which can alter skylines for more dramatic effects.

For Google One, Google Photos gets new paywalled editing features


Subscriptions to Google One start at $1.99 a month and concentrate on increasing storage for Google services (the base plan, for example, offers 100GB of space over the 15GB of included free storage). To sweeten the bargain, Google gives extra benefits to users, such as Google Store discounts — the latest Google Photos editing capabilities are most likely part of the plan.

It's also worth mentioning that Google One comes only months before Google Photos' free unlimited storage service expires, implying that the company will definitely promote Google One as a workaround for users who will need more storage space for their photos.

Finally, Google also revealed that the iOS and Android versions of the app would have some feature parity. In the coming weeks, the Android edition will get the upgraded video editing that Google already has for iOS, and the iOS version will get the new picture editor that Google launched last fall in the coming months.

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