The launch of the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, to be launched on 19 October, is being followed by tech bloggers and websites with the usual breathlessness that surrounds any big-name smartphone launch, with rumours of multiple leaks that supposedly reveal new features that the phones will sport.
The most consistent among these rumours is the fact that the Pixel 6 will have the ‘Magic Eraser’ feature as part of Google Photos app. The Verge reported that an American marketing website had images of Google marketing materials for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (the images have since been taken down). Screenshots showed the description for the previously leaked Magic Eraser, which will be a leading camera feature.
9 to 5 Google, a digital publication that exclusively tracks the search behemoth, had the maximum number of details related to the new Pixel device. The Pixel 6 will have a 6.4-inch flat display while the Pixel 6 Pro will measure in at 6.71-inches and comes with a curved panel, the website reported.
It will also have a new custom OS called Tensor. “AI is the future of our innovation work, but the problem is we’ve run into computing limitations that prevented us from fully pursuing our mission. So we set about building a technology platform built for mobile that enabled us to bring our most innovative AI and machine learning (ML) to our Pixel users. We set out to make our own System on a Chip (SoC) to power Pixel 6. And now, years later, it’s almost here,” wrote Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices & Services at Google in a blog post in August 2021. “Tensor is our first custom-built SoC specifically for Pixel phones, and it will power the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro later this fall.”
Osterloh also mentioned the new camera hardware on the phones, which have a fresh look in terms of placement. “We also upgraded the rear camera system. The improved sensors and lenses are now too big to fit into the traditional square — so the new design gives the whole camera system a new home with the camera bar,” he wrote, referring to the bar-like design feature at the back of the phone which is a departure from the cluster of cameras on most smartphones. (see image below).
But what is the Magic Eraser? The Verge says that “Magic Eraser makes distractions disappear with a few taps. Remove strangers and unwanted objects in Google Photos, so the people and places that you capture remain the true stars.” There is speculation that this could be the “image obstruction removal” feature that Google teased in 2018. 9 to 5 Google investigated this feature and found that “there’s no clear evidence to support this, but it would explain why the feature is ‘accelerated’ by Tensor’s TPU and appears to be a post-processing effect.”
All will be revealed on 19 October, but meanwhile, if you are looking for Android apps that already exist and claim to provide similar functionality as the mythical Magic Eraser (i.e. removing unwanted objects from photos), check out Adobe PhotoShop Fix and TouchRetouch. Even SnapSeed, the free photo editing app from Google, provides this feature to some extent.