Google’s Already Lost Credibility with AI on Mobile


Google’s done it again – barely even a year after the arrival of AI-powered editing features such as Magic Editor on the Pixel 8 phones, the company has announced that it will be bringing over several of its tools to users on Google Photos, opening up the feature for more users on different devices.

READ: Google’s AI Editing Tools will Arrive for Non-Pixel Phones, with a Catch

To be honest, this is no doubt a good thing, and only makes sense to provide rather useful features to users especially given the open nature of the Android platform. Allowing non-Pixel users to experience what generative AI can do (albeit in a simple manner) does provide a path forward towards enabling more useful AI features for the common consumer.

On the other hand, it kinda paints a different portrait of Google’s announcements moving forward. If you tuned into Google’s many keynote events and press conferences in the past, the company touted several key features such as Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, and more recently Magic Editor as being exclusive to Pixel phones. There was even talk that the Tensor chip was specially designed for the very AI features which are now available to non-Pixel devices, running SoCs from different manufacturers.

As a Pixel owner, these early statements from Google admittedly gave a sense of exclusivity with regards to owning a Pixel device – “wow, this makes the phone all the more unique,” was a thought that probably crossed the Pixel fandom’s minds at one point. It probably even helped sell a few dozen phones in that regard.

I can’t help but feel that Google should be a lot more clear with its plans for mobile AI features.

With this new development however, I can’t help but feel that Google should be a lot more clear with its plans for mobile AI features. Sure, Magic Editor required you to backup your photo online before editing, leading many to figure out that the feature worked mainly via the cloud – but again, much fanfare was made towards the Tensor chips being able to handle such AI trickery, leading some to believe that this was indeed the case.

In fact, similar sentiments arose not too long ago when a Google employee stated that Gemini Nano – a shrunken down version of Google’s Gemini AI model – was going to be made exclusive for the Pixel 8 Pro due to hardware constraints on the base model Pixel 8. Google would then follow up with an announcement that it was actually possible – not really too subtle on the inconsistency there.

Why give conflicting statements, especially when it comes to major software features? Maybe I’m expecting too much, but as a longtime Pixel user I’d rather that Google be able to be more direct with us regarding software. Of course not every company wants to give its upcoming secrets away, but this occasional flip-flopping might turn some less forgiving fans away from the brand.

Again, this isn’t a rant about losing “exclusive features” on the Pixel – this is about asking for a bit more transparency and consistency, especially for consumers who might have bought into early promises about special Tensor-powered tricks on their smartphone. Right now, someone’s probably out there thinking “I should’ve gone with that Samsung, man.”

How about you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Mike Viray
A writer and content creator with a love for tech and music, Mike is also an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.

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