A standalone Google Camera app has been launched today. Available for download from the Google Play Store, the app is quite different from the camera app that’s bundled with Android 4.4 KitKat. In its standalone app Google has kept the user interface quite clean to make the shutter button quite prominent while refining and improving the overall experience. Google promises that its an interface “that gets out of your way.”
The app comes with a new Lens Blur mode which offers a shallow depth of field to achieve “SLR-like photos.” Basically it replaces the need for a large optical system and instead uses computer vision algorithms and various optimization techniques to simulate larger lens and aperture. Other features include Google’s signature Photo Sphere, a useful feature if you like taking panoramic shots.
Google has also declared war on capturing video in portrait orientation. When the video camera is selected the app won’t start recording video until the user switches to landscape orientation. The app is supported by all Android devices that are capable of running version 4.4 KitKat or higher.
There’s a big advantage for both Google and the users. Since its a standalone app, users get more choice if they’re not content with the stock app. Google can freely add features to the app because its not baked into the OS, so it doesn’t need to roll out an entire firmware update. A simple app update is all that Google needs to add new features. Google Camera is available as a free download.