Google Photos will soon colorize old pictures

Need to add color to those old-timey black-and-white photos? Google Photos has you covered.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
2 min read
Google Photos' new AI feature shown on a smartphone.

Google Photos' new AI feature is designed to help you edit images automatically.


Colorizing old black-and-white photos is just one of the new AI-powered features for Google Photos.

At Google I/O on Tuesday, the company announced new AI features for Google Photos, its platform for storing and sending images. At Google's annual developers conference, company CEO Sundar Pichai talked about all the different ways artificial intelligence can help with its products. 

Pichai introduced Smart Actions, with new features designed to make scanning documents and sending pictures to your friends much more efficient. 

Watch this: Colorize your black-and-white pics with Google Photos

The AI is able to spot if a photo is too dark, or if colors can be more vibrant in the image, Pichai said. These changes aren't automatic; the AI system offers the potential changes as suggestions instead. 

"If you have this cute picture of your kid, we can make it better. We can pop the color and make the kid even cuter," Pichai said. 

One of the features that got the loudest cheers was converting documents into PDF files automatically. If you're taking any photos of documents on Google Photos, it'll be able to convert them with the AI. 

"These suggested actions are powered by machine learning, which means you only see them on relevant photos. You can easily tap the suggestions to complete the action," Nan Wang, a Google Photos software engineer, said in a blog post.

The feature is also able to recolor photos that were originally uploaded in black and white. The AI can pick up on friends in the image with facial recognition too, and offer to send the pictures to them, to make sharing easier.

Pichai said the Google Photos features would be available in the next couple of months.

The coolest things we saw at Google I/O

See all photos

First published May 8, 10:34 a.m. PT
Update, 10:40 a.m.:
Includes details from Google's blog post.

Android P will give Android gestures like the iPhone X: Google's vision of Android P is now a lot less hazy. But the company still won't tell us what the "P" stands for.

Google Assistant could become the most lifelike AI yet: Google showed off its stunning experimental technology called Duplex, which makes you think you're talking to a real person.