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Google’s latest iPhone app adds even more missing features to iOS

Seriously, Google, can you just take over my iPhone already? I’ve been dreaming for years now of an iPhone experience that places as many Google apps and services atop Apple’s outstanding iOS platform and hardware, and my dream is close to being a reality. Apple has put up a few insurmountable barriers and some annoying bugs cause problems in other areas, but for the most part Google’s iOS apps are superior alternatives to apps that Apple itself provides on the iPhone.

Google’s iOS apps often also add missing functionality that Apple likely should have baked right into iOS, and we’ve been shown yet another example of that on Tuesday as Google releases its latest iPhone app.

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Live Photos are among several new features Apple introduced with the iPhone 6s to help showcase one of its most marketed new features, 3D Touch. With the feature enabled, the iPhone records video at a low frame rate with sound before and after you capture an image with the iPhone’s camera. Then, pressing firmly on the resulting photo will play the brief video.

It’s a very nifty feature, but the resulting Live Photos can’t easily be shared unless they’re being sent to another iOS device.

As a result, developers have cooked up a number of different apps that either pull still photos out of a Live Photo, or convert a Live Photo into standard GIF format. These apps have become popular among iPhone users, and now Google has thrown its hat into the ring.

“Today we are releasing Motion Stills, an iOS app from Google Research that acts as a virtual cameraman for your Apple Live Photos,” Google’s Ken Conley and Matthias Grundmann wrote in a blog post. “We use our video stabilization technology to freeze the background into a still photo or create sweeping cinematic pans. The resulting looping GIFs and movies come alive, and can easily be shared via messaging or on social media.”

Motion Stills is a free download and you’ll find the app’s full description below.

Photos are an extension of our memories, and our memories are never still. Motion Stills is a pilot from Google that brings your Live Photos back to life with advanced stabilization and rendering. Turn your photos into GIFs that loop forever, or edit them together into epic movies.

• Turn your Live Photos into cinematic and beautiful Motion Stills with Google’s stabilization technology.

• Share your Motion Stills as looping GIFs directly in your favorite messaging app.

• Browse through your Live Photos stream, or flip through one-by-one and watch them auto-play.

• Create epic movies by combining your Motion Stills together with just a swipe.

Download Motion Stills

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.