Google’s ‘Appsperiments’ Use AI for Advanced Mobile Image Manipulation

Three new mobile apps from Google let users create on-the-fly photo and video effects with the help of advanced hardware and computer vision algorithms. Google describes its Storyboard, Selfissimo!, and Scrubbies apps as the first in a series of "appsperiments" to help guide future imaging innovations.

Available for Android devices only, Storyboard (pictured, left) automatically transforms mobile videos into stylized comic layouts. Meanwhile, Selfissimo! (pictured, middle) lets both Android and iOS users capture multiple black-and-white selfies whenever they strike poses during photo sessions. The iOS-based Scrubbies (pictured, far right) allows users to create and save video loops by "scratching" video playbacks much in the same way a DJ scratches a vinyl record.

All three Google apps are just the latest indicators of how advanced technologies are making it easier for ordinary users to manipulate photo and video content in a variety of ways. While Google says its new apps are designed for fun applications, other technologies are increasing the potential to further blur the lines between real and fake content.

Just yesterday, for example, Motherboard published a feature story describing how a pseudonymous Redditor is using open source artificial intelligence technologies to create fake pornographic videos using the faces of famous female actors and entertainers.

'Radically New Creative Applications'

Google's new appsperiments provide a taste of the imaging capabilities that are becoming possible with next-generation mobile cameras, according to a post published yesterday on the Google Research blog.

"Each of the world's approximately two billion smartphone owners is carrying a camera capable of capturing photos and video of a tonal richness and quality unimaginable even five years ago," Google interaction researcher Alex Kauffmann wrote in the blog post. "Until recently, those cameras behaved mostly as optical sensors, capturing light and operating on the resulting image's pixels. The next generation of cameras, however,...

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