Home Articles Google reveals that it doesn’t know what to do with Pixel smartphones

Google reveals that it doesn’t know what to do with Pixel smartphones

by Jeff Tucker


Google is confused. This is the impression that smartphones from the Google Pixel line leave me. If you take the last three generations of these devices, you will see that each next model is the complete opposite of the previous one and what Google said about its plans to develop branded smartphones. This even applies to the camera, in the development of which the search giant has managed to more or less succeed and, it seems, go even further than its main competitors. Especially the cameras.

Pixel 5

When developing the Pixel 5, Google unexpectedly changed their shoes

It all started two years ago, when Google first introduced the Pixel 3. Then many manufacturers have mastered not only dual, but even triple and quadruple cameras. Therefore, it is logical that they began to ask her uncomfortable questions that Google is allegedly unable to subjugate modules of different types. Nevertheless, the company answered with a challenge that they did not see any point in this, because its smartphones take better pictures in a variety of shooting scenarios than competitors’ devices with several modules.

Which is better: wide-angle or telephoto lens

Portrait photography

Left – photo with wide-angle, right – photo with telephoto lens. Find the difference

In principle, this was quite reasonable, because even a basic wide-angle lens, thanks to the use of special algorithms, made it possible to take stunning high-quality and natural portrait photos. Google even released a visual study showing that their technology of dividing one pixel in half and creating a parallax effect can perform as well as an additional telephoto lens. However, a year later, already in Pixel 4, Google engineers changed their minds and equipped the new smartphone with a telephoto camera.

To justify this move, Google released a second study. His goal was to visually compare the effectiveness of blurring the background in portrait mode when shooting with one and two cameras. It is logical that with two cameras, the result allegedly turned out to be invariably better, because the tele-lens, in fact, provides an analog effect of shooting from two angles, which creates volume, and does not force digital automation to do it. Quite a dubious argument, but it suited many, because the main thing is that the quality of the shooting did not get worse.

Why you need an ultra wide-angle camera

Then many wondered whether it would be more logical to equip a smartphone with an ultra-wide-angle lens instead of a telephoto lens? After all, whatever one may say, but the quality of shooting with the Pixel 3 camera and without the telephoto lens was quite high. But Google explained that all this pampering and practical sense in using a module with a viewing angle of 120 degrees or more is simply not there, because there are not so many shooting scenarios when it can be useful. Needless to say about macro-modules, which are popular with many manufacturers today.

Photo with bokeh

Left – digitally dividing a pixel in two, right – using a telephoto lens to add volume to the image

But, what do you think, this year Google quickly changed its shoes. After Google Camera ideologue Mark Levoy left the company, his team members decided to abandon the ideas promoted by their former leader and do the opposite. So they threw the telephoto lens out of the Pixel 5 and replaced it with an ultra-wide lens. To say that it was unexpected is to say nothing. Moreover, Google did not even support its action with any research, as it was in the past, pointing only to more convenient shooting of landscapes and architecture.

What does all this mean? Most likely, Google cannot find the right way to develop. Despite the fact that the company has very cool filming technology that is practically independent of the hardware, it doesn’t know how to make it even cooler. Therefore, the engineers of the search giant now and then set up various experiments, which, in general, are more like the attempts of blind puppies to find their mother. Because of this, they often get confused and stick their noses in the completely wrong place.


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