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Google Photos editor adds new ‘HDR’ effect/filter on Pixel phones

The December Pixel Feature Drop quietly added more ML-powered “Suggestions” that improve sky pictures on Google’s first-party devices. At the same time, Google Photos also introduced a new “HDR” filter adjustment.

Back in September, the Google Photos editor was entirely redesigned on Android. The “Adjust” tab, after Brightness and Contrast, now shows an “HDR” effect that’s badged with a yellow dot on first use.

Like most adjustments, tapping presents you with a 100-point slider. You can click the HDR button to jump all the way to 100 or reset. 

This new option is more akin to a filter in that it works on any image from screenshots to something downloaded online. It does not appear to tap into any information captured by the Pixel’s camera system, but rather just mimics the HDR effect. 

Like the new “Dynamic” and sunrise/sunset effects, this Google Photos HDR filter is currently only available on Pixel phones. It does not show up on third-party devices or the web client. It reflects a growing trend of Pixels getting new Photos features first.

While announced with the December security patch, this is a server-side rollout that just requires the latest version of Photos for Android and is now complete.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: