Google Photos is making you pay for its best editing features

Google One just got a lot more important.

What you need to know

  • Google has improved Google Photos editing capabilities.
  • It’s rolling out a new video editor to all Android users.
  • Google is also releasing Pixel-exclusive features to non-Pixel users under a Google One paywall.

Google last year rolled out a slew of Pixel exclusive editing features to the Google Photos app. If you had a Pixel 4a or a Pixel 5, Google’s AI would be able to apply select tweaks to your photos based on whether it was landscape, or it was landscape or it was people-based.

Now, the company is making them available to non-Pixel owners — for a fee. You’ll need to have Gooogle One access to try out some of these features as Google announced back in 2020. These include the new Portrait Blur and Portrait Lighting tools, as well as the ML powered suggestions. You’ll need to have an Android phone with 3GB of RAM running Android 8.0 and above, but as even cheap Android phones meet that requirement nowadays, it shouldn’t be too onerous.

In addition to that, Google today finally made a revamped Google Photos video editor available to Android. It’s bringing more than 30 controls for users who want to tweak their videos after they’ve shot them. As far as upgrades go, it’s a useful tool for Pixel 5 users, especially after Google worked on improving video support with new shooting modes in the camera app.

Writing in a blog post, the Google Photos team said:

With the new video editor, in addition to trimming, stabilizing and rotating your videos, you’ll now be able to crop, change perspective, add filters, apply granular edits (including brightness, contrast, saturation and warmth) and more.

While the new video editor is welcome, the Google One subscription is likely to be controversial. With Google One also being needed to store vast amounts of photos (unless you’re a Pixel owner), it seems that you’ll need a Google One subscription to get the most out of Google Photos.

Would you get a Google One subscription to use Google Photos to the fullest? Let us know in the comments below.


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