Not too long ago an internal dogfood version of Google Camera 7.0 leaked, which showed us what we can expect from the Pixel 4's image shooter. But since Google Camera isn't tied to specific Pixel generations, we could assume that many of the changes we saw in the dogfood build would also make their way to older devices. Lo and behold, Google has just released a new stable version of its camera app bearing version number 7.1. It gives you the refined interface seen in the dogfood build along with brand new framing hints and quick social share options.
Left: Version 6.3. Middle & Right: Version 7.1.
Just like the internal build from the Pixel 4, Google Camera 7.1 cleans up the viewfinder interface considerably. The options on the top that let you set up motion, flash, and timer are gone, hiding behind an arrow pointing downwards. This menu has also added an option to exchange the default 4:3 ratio for a cropped 16:9 view. You can alternatively access it by swiping down anywhere. Similarly, the zoom and exposure sliders only become visible when you tap to focus or when you start zooming with the pinch gesture. On the lower half, a redesigned shutter button and the tabs of different camera modes switch places.
Left & Middle: Framing hints and Social Share are new options available in the settings. Right: Social Share in action after taking an image.
When we take a look at the settings, two new options immediately strikes the eye: One is 'Framing hints,' another is 'Social Share.' The app describes the former as "Hints for taking better photos." It's basic stuff, really – it tells you to raise the camera when your face is off-angle while taking a selfie. 'Social Share' lets you quickly share photos to social apps right after you've taken an image by swiping up on the preview button to the right of the shutter. You can choose up to three apps at a time. Our friends at XDA Developers took a peek at the code and found out which applications exactly the camera supports to begin with:
- Facebook Messenger
- Facebook Messenger Lite
- imo Messenger
- Instagram Stories
- Verizon Message+
Left: Tapping to focus invokes the zoom and exposure sliders. Right: Framing hints in action, telling you to raise the camera for a better angle.
XDA Developers also dug out a feature that allows social media apps to read depth information in images, though the function isn't live in the app at this point. It should allow you to modify the background blur in portrait shots right inside social media image editors. There's speculation that this Dynamic Depth Format (DDF) is only available on the Pixel 4 to start with, so the question remains whether it will make it to older Google devices.
You can download Google Camera 7.1 over at APK Mirror right away, but you may also wait until it rolls out to you on the Play Store.
Level indicator and astrophotography
As noted by S.e7en in the comments (thanks!), Version 7.1 also adds the level indicator first seen in v7.0, but it's rather hard to invoke: You'll need to hold the phone horizontally, tap to focus, and then keep your phone off-axis for about three seconds until it shows up. It also helps to have a landscape in your viewfinder as I couldn't get it to show up with people in front of the camera.
Astrophotography is another brand new addition, first spotted in a Pixel 4 leak. It lets you take images of the night sky using a tripod by capturing light for over a minute to make the stars pop. You can test it during the day by starting Night Sight and putting your phone flat on a table to simulate the night sky. Thanks, onesolo!
- XDA Developers
- Armando and Saumil