Google tweaks Photos with white balance correction as it eyes image archiving

When you select auto image adjustment, it will now also compensate for overly blue or yellow hues.

google photos wb

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Google Photos is already one of the best apps for editing and managing your snapshots, but Google isn’t planning to play it safe. Google has steadily added a stream of small but important features, tweaked the interface, and improved the experience in subtle ways. This latest update is no different.

Most users won’t see the difference, but eagle-eyed shutterbugs will notice that their photos look a little different when looking at the auto option in the editing window. That’s because Google has added a new tool: auto white balance. It’s a subtle thing for sure, but an incorrect white balance can give your photos an unintended blue or yellow hue. As always, you don’t need to follow Google’s suggestions, but I tested a few photos and the results were pretty spot on. As seen in the above photo, the Auto button (in the right image) turned up the warmth on an overly blue photo. 

And there may be more improvements on the way. Android Police conducted its customary teardown of the latest APK and found some things to note. The most major of the changes is the possible introduction of a long-awaited feature: archiving. Presumably it would work much like Gmail’s archiving does, by taking the picture out of your main library but keeping it for later reference, acting as a way to clean up your photos without deleting a bunch of pictures you might want in the future. But in Photos it would be even more useful, because our photo feed is a giant bucket of everything we've shot, whether or not they're been filed away into albums.

While it’s unclear when archiving will make it into the main app, Android Police estimates that the feature is nearly complete and could be added between updates via a server-side upgrade. The auto-white balance feature is live on the Google Photos site and rolling out to Android phones this week. Google also says an iOS update is on its way.

The big picture: Truth be told, Google could probably rest on its laurels for the rest of 2017 and not release a single update to Photos, and it would still reign supreme. Really, no other app comes close. But it’s great to see Google paying so much attention to the little things inside Photos. Our smartphone cameras are the key to recording our lives, and Google keeps making it easier to keep track of every moment.

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