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Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro hands-on: AI like it’s magic

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro hands-on: AI like it’s magic

Google Pixel 8 Pro in Bay, Porcelain, and Obsidian (left to right).

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are now officially available, with the new generation of Pixel handsets also getting a punctual, official release in Singapore.

We’ve had the opportunity to try out the phones at Google’s SG HQ today, and here are some of our thoughts on the new features showcased during its online keynote.

Actua Display on Pixel 8 (top) with Super Actua Display on Pixel 8 Pro (bottom), both at maximum brightness.

Note: If you’re interested in specs, you may look at our event coverage here. In this hands-on, we’re looking at how some of Pixel’s newly launched AI features work, along with their use cases and limitations.

Best Take is the best thing for group selfies so far

Models posing for Best Take. Face selection at the bottom of the screen are taken from the series of photos snapped within the same timeframe.

If you’ve watched the keynote, you’d have heard about Best Take, a Google Photo feature that lets you get picture-perfect group selfies where everyone looks and smiles at the camera. You and I know that’s near impossible without several attempts, or having at least one unfortunate soul looking like they were an infant that was dropped too many times on the floor when growing up.

Here’s how Best Take works. The photo-editing feature doesn’t generate faces using artificial intelligence (AI), nor does it create a version of “you” it thinks is perfect. Best Take combines information and image data from multiple group selfie attempts. The AI identifies all the similar-looking shots, singles out the faces in all those shots, and matches them to the right person before presenting you with your options.

Google Pixel 8.

The result is choosing the best- (or funniest-) looking faces from everyone in the photo. You rinse and repeat with each head in the shot, and you now have a perfect group selfie.

To best use Best Take, you must take multiple shots of the same crowd within a reasonable timeframe — you can’t just take a selfie from a different day and hope to replace one head within a group shot taken elsewhere.

While it borders on science fiction horror, knowing that Best Take can only work with what you produce is reassuring. The AI is only responsible for sourcing and identifying people correctly.

This feature works on both Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Audio Magic Eraser removes what you consider noise

Audio Magic Eraser is available as an "Edit" option in your video when previewing after shooting.

The Google keynote showcased Audio Magic Eraser as a tool that lets you keep the annoying whining child in your video while “noise-cancelling” other sounds. Not exactly an appealing demonstration, unless you’ve a fetish for hearing children in distress.

During our live session, we were very happy to learn that Audio Magic Eraser is much more than what Google demonstrated. Using AI, the Pixel phone will parse and separate audio samples for you, grouping them into two main categories: the sounds made by your subject and those that aren’t.

The audio editor offers four parameters for noise-cancelling your videos, and a slider for granular control.

The Pixel 8 will present your audio options in four broad categories: Speech, Nature, Wind, and Noise. Each of them can be reduced to your tastes. Sounds not made by your subject would fall under “Noise”, so it won’t confuse some random person’s unintelligible moaning as a part of your clip. Simply play around with the sliders until you’re satisfied before confirming your edits.

While it goes beyond pressing a single button to “clean up” the audio track of any videos shot on your Pixel, we still greatly appreciate the level of noise-cancellation control and how intuitive it feels. Typically, you’d need some mastery of audio engineering and a full-fledged audio-editing tool to pull this off. Doing it on a phone before it leaves your default app feels almost magical.

The only limitation is that it works on two-minute or shorter videos. If you’ve something longer (like an interview that needs transcription), you’d have to cut it up into many little pieces or wait until Google figures out how to avail Audio Magic Eraser for longer clips.

Like Best Take, Magic Audio Eraser is also on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Object Temperature for the Pixel 8 Pro

@hwztech You don’t even need to be good at taking photos anymore #madebygoogle #sgtech #sgtiktok ♬ ALMOST HOME – Mad Adix, Marc Steinmeier< PrevPage 1 of 1 – Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro hands-on: AI like it’s magicPage 1 of 1 – Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro hands-on: AI like it’s magicPage 1 of 1 Page 1 of 1 – Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro hands-on: AI like it’s magicNext >

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