Google's newest photo app brings panorama effects, Photo Sphere, and depth-of-field effects to all Android devices running KitKat.
Sarah MitroffManaging Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
On Wednesday, Google released Google Camera, a new standalone camera app for Android that brings Photo Sphere to non-Nexus devices, and lets you add depth-of-field lens-blur effects to your shots. The company took to Google+ to announce the news.
Google is essentially taking many of the camera features that have been available only on Nexus phones and tablets, and making them available for many more Android devices. The Photo Sphere camera mode, which was introduced in Android Jelly Bean 4.2, is now available in the Google Camera app. The mode lets you shoot extra-large interactive panoramas that look similar to Google Street View images.
The other major feature in Google Camera is Lens Blur, an SLR-like effect that changes the depth of field in your finished photo. Similar to a Lytro camera, you can shoot a photo, and after the fact, change the focus on different parts of the scene. You can achieve the same effect with the recently released HTC One M8 , which has two cameras that can focus on a subject in the foreground and blur out the background, or vice versa.
Google also boasts that Google Camera has a sleek design, with a no-frills viewfinder and an extra-large capture button that's supposedly easy to press without looking at the screen.