Google Photos has gone through a lot of changes recently, including introducing a new subscription for photo prints and an adjustment to the unlimited storage policy. Now the app is getting a new filter that adds an HDR-like effect to your photos to increase brightness and contrast.
The HDR button appears in the adjustments tab in-between the contrast and white point buttons. Once it's turned on, the intensity of the effect can be controlled in increments between 0 and 100.
Left: HDR off Right: HDR on
This seems to simply be a filter applied on top of images rather than a feature that adjusts the actual HDR levels — the effect works just as well on screenshots, too. While it's unclear exactly how helpful this is, it certainly seems to give brightness a boost while preserving the darker sections of images.
The new HDR effect appears to be a Pixel exclusive at the moment, likely part of the December feature drop, which brought a ton of new things to Pixel owners, including new photo editing suggestions. If you want to try out the new HDR filter for yourself, just make sure your Google Photos app is up to date on your Pixel and it should appear in the editor. You can grab the latest version from APK Mirror or the Play Store.