One of the many photography-oriented announcements made during today's Google+ event was Snapseed's new HDR Scape filter, one which promised to produce awesome photos with a dynamic range that's deliciously high.
Unlike stock camera HDR modes, Vic Gundotra was sure to point out on stage today that Snapseed's HDR Scape filter doesn't approximate tonal mapping effects by measuring pixel brightness, but instead detects pixel edge contrast, which according to Gundotra should produce more realistic effects, close to what you might achieve with a set of bracketed exposures from a "real" camera.
Pixel edge contrast, for those wondering, is basically the difference in tone between (as you may expect) the edges of two pixels.
It's hard out there for a photo app these days. After the runaway success of Instagram, a lot of imitators popped up thinking that if they offered the same "snap, filter and share" features, users would flock to them, as well.
Sadly, this means that we have legions of piss-poor imitations without any clear alternatives; as the filter features became more ubiquitous, they almost provoke a roll of the eyes when announced. Unless an app fixes glaring problems with the market leader or offers some other kind of of advantage, users will find themselves wondering "What's the point?"
I was interested when it was announced that Google would be acquiring the Snapseed because it seemed almost in reaction to Facebook's purchase of Instagram.
There are no shortage of image editors on Android. Even Adobe, which makes the class-leading Photoshop, has a version of its editor on the platform. Today, though, Google gets one of its very own: Snapseed. You may recall this particular piece of software when it was demoed by NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at CES this year. At the time, it was only available on the iPad where it had won App of the Year in 2011. Shortly thereafter, Google bought the company. Now, the Android version is finally being released.
This video is a bit older and shows off the iOS version, but you get the idea.
It's almost become trite to hear that Google has bought another company that deals in photo editing software. Yet, here we are again. Today, Vic Gundotra announced on Google+ that Nik Software, creators of the impressive Snapseed app that we saw demoed at CES this year, will be joining the Mountain View team.
While there's no indication yet just which Google product will see the benefit of this new talent, it can only mean good news. When Google purchased web-based editor Picnik, for example, the app ended up being built right into Google+. Even if it remains fairly well hidden.