Google has been posting versions of most of its first-party apps to the Play Store in an effort to update key features of Android (or at least Google's branded additions to the platform) without having to wait for carriers to push out software apps. According to a report from Engadget, the standard camera app will soon get an upgrade, presumably following the same path. At this point we'll consider this a rumor, since Engadget only cites "sources aware of Google's plans."

2014-04-01 16.58.47

The report says that the updated camera app will include many of the bells and whistles that newer devices are getting, like the fake depth of field effect shown off on the HTC One M8. Other additions include improved panorama assist and Photosphere functions with higher resolution, a tweaked user interface, and a viewfinder that shows 100% of the final photo (a big deal for photographers). But an even bigger and somewhat less believable inclusion is an extension system, allowing developers to add third-party filters to the stock camera app, presumably through the Play Store.

How viable is the rumor? Well, it certainly fits with the decentralized approach that Google has been pursuing over the last couple of years. And with various manufacturers adding more high-powered camera modules and better (or at least more complex) camera apps, it's certainly possible that Google would want to flex its own technical and creative muscles. We'll be looking out for a Google Camera app - Google I/O is coming up in a couple of months, and that would be a pretty obvious venue for its debut.

Source: Engadget

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Gregor Smith

    April Fools? :-P

    Burst mode?

    • Simon Belmont

      I know it sounds gimmicky, but I'd love to see a voice command added to the camera app to have it take a picture for me. Like the "cheese" command on the Galaxy phones.

      There's a few situations where it would be useful. But, yeah, burst mode would be welcome, too.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Didn't GS3 have a "Capture" command for taking photos?

        I saw one review of GS3 while it still had... I think, 4.1.2, and it had that command for Camera app. Maybe it changed with GS4 and GS5 though

        • Crafty

          Yes. It did.

          That's what I think he meant. The Galaxy S3 camera accepts the "cheese" voice command, I believe.

      • Steve B

        No, this is not gimmicky at all. I can't count the number of times I wished I had voice commands in my camera instead of setting a countdown timer and hoping for the best.

        • Simon Belmont

          Totally agree, man. There's been a ton of times it would have been great for a group selfie of me and my family.

          The timer helps, but it would be nice to have more dynamic precision. Hopefully the new camera app gets this.

  • Fahad Beg

    What happened to that rumor of adding raw support?

    • Severo Rivera

      It'll probably be included in this new camera app redesign.

  • nawa

    The most interesting for me (provided this is all correct) is what the new camera will be: part of AOSP or part of Google Apps.

    • Christofftofferson

      Google app.
      Not that it will make a huge difference to the end user

      • nawa

        Sure, end user wouldn't mind. I just want haxers to tinker and expand it even more.

    • Zargh

      Both. They wouldn't have started a new Camera2.apk repository in 4.4 otherwise.

      Even Google+ Photos shares a codebase with Gallery.

  • Jasper Vinkenvleugel

    If this is an April Fools joke, I'm gonna cry.

    • http://www.wirtal.in/ devanshnegi

      And Google is surely known for their yearly April Fool pranks

      • Jays2Kings

        I don't think google set this on up, it's too cruel and not as out there as google's usual pranks, but maybe engadget did though. If it's fake I really will be sad though.

    • WestFiasco

      It's not zany enough lol.

      • maximilien321

        my Aunty Julia got silver Volkswagen Beetle
        Convertible by working parttime off of a home computer... Look At This C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Simon Belmont

    Please don't be an April Fools' Day joke. PLEASE.

    Also "a viewfinder that shows 100% of the final photo." Woohoo, if that's true (it's been cropping the viewfinder for a long time), and lets hope Google puts it in the Google Play Store for faster updates like the Moto X camera app.

  • serzhanja

    Now THAT's a joke!

  • Taco Monster

    Did you guys confirm with Engadget that this isn't a joke? (Would be in very bad taste if it were).

    • hoosiercub88

      If this were an April Fool's joke.. it wouldn't be a very good one, at all.

      • Taco Monster

        Yeah, but it's hard not to consider the possibility.

        • hoosiercub88

          With things in the world like the Google+ Hasselhoff Photobomb and Pokemon Master Google Maps.. yes.. yes it is hard to consider this as a possible Google April Fool's joke lol

          I mean.. oh yeah, they got me good! The thought of them publishing a native app for Android into the play store like they've been doing is bonkers, so over the top hard to believe.


          • Taco Monster

            Actually, what I had in mind was a scummy Engadget editor's idea of an April fool's joke. Nothing to do with Google.

          • hoosiercub88

            Still, the fact remains that this is a very plausible story. It'd be about as exciting as wallpaper paste if it was an April Fool's Joke of some sort.

  • remister

    Zoe Mode is pretty awesome and I hope they can port it. Even a mode to make a GIF would be epic.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    I'll believe it...tomorrow.

  • Régis Knechtel

    Pleeeease, be true!

  • Martin

    Their app is disgusting right now.. It's not simple.. Prefer even Samsung's camera..

    • hyperbolic

      Anything BUT Samsung..

      • Steve B

        At least it takes good pictures.

      • Paul Kiener

        I hate Samsung too and everything Touchwiz. I have a Galaxy S4 right now. However, I must say, NOTHING is better than Samsung's camera app for the S4. The only thing that came close or might be as good is the Lenovo Super Camera App.

  • Chris

    God I hope so. The stock app suuuuuuucks

    • Matthew Fry


      • hoosiercub88


  • hyperbolic
    • SSDROiD

      I love photos in the comments section! There's always a tiny bit of hope in every comment section I visit that someone will have posted a meme like this. Thank you for making my wish this time come true! :D

  • BozzyB

    hope google will make the system components even more modular that they can update over the play store/services. That's the only way to keep also old devices up to date. So no more waiting for system updates anymore - like if there's an update for the settings menu, it comes over play. This is what the end user wants.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      This could very well be the future of Android, just update everything via Play Store, except the OS itself

  • Ryuuie

    Google DID say that they're working on RAW support for their camera app. I could see this Play Store Google Camera having it.

  • Taylor

    Could they be potentially pursuing a Dashclock/Muzei method of camera extensions? Considering Roman Nurik is a Google employee, it doesn't seem unprecedented.

  • Captain Canada

    Google needs to focus (pun not intended) on basic camera features like autofocus before they take on a huge project like this, clearly their priorities are not straight.

    • SSDROiD

      Aww come on, "Google needs to focus on basic camera features" was an awesome pun! At least take credit for it! :P

    • Zargh

      Fixing the viewfinder so it matches up with the actual sensors is 100% correlated with that so focusing on that is exactly the right move.

      • Brendan Dillon

        And separating the app so it can be updated outside of system updates will only accelerate improvements. It's a shame people can't see something sitting right in front of their face like that.

  • Christopher Bement
  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    If the Camera app got support for third-party extensions, wouldn't that mean the possibility that Google could add such support into Chrome and then expand it into every Google app out there?

  • hoosiercub88

    This could be cool, except that as of this moment, AOSP camera software is kind of crap. On top of that, things like HDR+ and Photosphere probably wouldn't be supported on all devices.

    If those two things could be fixed, then this would be great news.

  • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

    why does this post had to be April 1st!!! why!!!! D:

  • hp420

    Filters?? Seriously?? Let's try to make this less like instagram and more like a serious, desirable camera app, ok? They can forget all this gimmicky bullshit already....all I want is a TRUE macros setting....it's been a long enough wait.

  • whispy_snippet

    It feels like we've been waiting for this big camera overhaul forever. And to think it was rumoured to originally launch with the release of Android 4.4. I've such high hopes that the Nexus 5 camera is on the verge of a major transformation in terms of capability and functionality.

  • http://www.bidnessetc.com/ Jodina Joseph

    I actually confidence that they progress the Camera Speediness particularly
    in the Nexus 4. From time to time impartial loading the app is appalling in combination
    with the measured attention.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    Well.... Engadget haven't confirmed it as being a prank yet.... so there may well be hope. On the other hand.... surely they must of realised that there are certain articles that you should release either the day before or the day after April Fools day - in order to not piss people off.....

  • hot_spare

    google and camera! yea, big joke..

  • fonix232

    So, basically making it work like the WP8 camera system does?