Google first got us excited for the nifty new Google Photos feature called “Colorize” back in 2018, when the company teased it at I/O 2018 and showed us how it can take a black and white image you’ve captured and render it in color. That’s no mean feat, because the AI that underpins this feature goes on to imbue the image with the correct color choices in the correct way — trees, for example, show up looking natural and not shaded with, say, a purple hue.
Per a Google executive, the feature relies on TensorFlow’s machine learning capabilities to recognize the appropriate colors that need to be added to specific areas of black-and-white images. And now, thanks to an early version of the feature in action, when can get another look at how well this works.
Running a beta version of the feature, which Google promises is being launched soon, 9to5Google provided some examples of how well “Colorize” works. The sample below show an original color image, then the image runs through a black-and-white filter in order to give Colorize something to work with, and image #3 is the result:
Here’s a stellar sample:
And another example:
One thing to note, for those you interested in this feature, is that the colorization doesn’t happen on-device. You’ve got to actually take a photo and upload it to Google Photos before the process kicks in. And while you can see some examples above of Colorize in action, it’s intriguing to think about all the other different possibilities that exist for this feature — some even with potential emotional resonance for the user.
Think about a photo of your grandparents that’s in black-and-white, for example, which can be updated with natural-looking color, bringing to life snapshots from earlier generations of your family.
This is all part and parcel of the new functionality Google keeps adding to Photos to surprise and delight users, one of the most recent being a Stories-like element that uses bubbles at the top of the app to resurface photos you may have forgotten about (an “On this day, this happened” kind of feature). The app’s AI also regularly touches up your photos and surprises you with collages, your photos updated with filters and much more.