Google’s new iOS app gives meaning to Live Photos, turns them into GIFs

The app uses video stabilization technology to convert the otherwise shaky Live Photos into a smooth GIF.


With the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple had released a very interesting feature on its camera app called Live Photos. The feature captures, along with the still, a few seconds of moments just before and after the still was taken, with movement and sound. Without doubt, this was one of the highlights of the iPhone 6s and it is a pretty cool feature. However, being an iPhone 6s user myself, I have hundreds of these Live Photos on my phone but there is very little I can do with them. I cannot share these Live Photos with anyone, the moment I share it beyond the Apple ecosystem, they convert into a still and lose their essence. Until now!

Google has found a way to make the Live Photos a lot more useful. It has launched an iOS app called Motion Stills that converts these Live Photos into motion GIFs. This app from Google Research acts as a virtual camera operator for Apple Live Photos. It uses video stabilization technology to convert the otherwise shaky Live Photo into a smooth GIF, which can be easily shared.

“Short videos are perfect for creating loops, so we added loop optimization to bring out the best in your captures. Our approach identifies optimal start and end points, and also discards blurry frames. As an added benefit, this fixes “pocket shots” (footage of the phone being put back into the pocket),” Google explained in a blog post.

The best part is that the Motion Stills app does not require any kind of data connection and all of it works right on the smartphone. Additionally, it also allows a user to put together multiple Live Photos to create a movie file instead of a GIF.
But the bigger story here is how Google is slowly taking over the iOS app experience away from Apple. Google’s Maps are already more useful than Apple Maps. After Apple opened the keyboard for third-party integrations in iOS 9, Google launched the Gboard app that allows users to directly do Google web searches from the keyboard within any app. Google Photos already provides automatic cloud backup of photos stored on your phone. Inbox and Gmail apps provide a better user experience if you use Gmail as your email service. Then there is YouTube which is still the most preferred video streaming app. And now, with Motion Stills Google is improving Apple’s core features. This doesn’t bode well for Apple.

  • Published Date: June 8, 2016 1:50 PM IST
  • Updated Date: June 8, 2016 1:53 PM IST