Google accidentally wipes flagship ‘Magic Eraser’ removal tool from Pixel phones

Magic Eraser uses artificial intelligence to take out unwanted people and objects from the background of pictures, but suddenly disappeared from phones

Adam Smith
Monday 15 November 2021 16:55
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Google’s latest update to its Photos app has deleted one of the major features of its newest phones.

The smartphone giant announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro with a Magic Eraser tool that used artificial intelligence to remove wanted people and objects from the backgrounds of photos.

However, the new version of Google Photos (5.67, as reported by Android Central), removed the feature – an ironic turn of events due to its function.

The Independent was not able to recreate the issue on a Pixel 6 device, which had the 5.66 version of Google Photos. The feature is only available on Google’s own flagship, but other manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei have their own version of the tool in their respective photo apps.

Google declined to comment when asked about the issue by The Independent, but a spokesperson told The Verge that the company “identified an issue early in the rollout of [its] latest Photos update and are providing a fix shortly.” It also confirmed that the issue was not affecting all users.

Magic Eraser had been a long-awaited feature, first mentioned in 2017 as a way to remove objects from the foreground of pictures – such as the crossed wires when taking a photo through a chain-link fence.

As well as the Magic Eraser tool, Google’s Pixel phones came with a new motion mode that combines multiple shots taken in an instance, detecting what is moving and what is still, and adds blur accordingly. It also has a face unblur feature.

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