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Google's new Cinematic photos promise to bring old memories to life

A new feature from Google will animate your photos to give them a 3D, cinematic effect.

Google's new Cinematic photos use machine learning and AI to give old images new depth.

Google's has a new innovation for the photos on your phone, and it promises to bring old memories back to life with automatic 3D animation. Called Cinematic photos and launching within the Google Photos app in the coming weeks, the feature uses animated layers to create artificial depth and motion within still images.

"To do this, we use machine learning to predict an image's depth and produce a 3D representation of the scene -- even if the original image doesn't include depth information from the camera," says Jamie Aspinall, product manager, Google Photos. "Then we animate a virtual camera for a smooth panning effect -- just like out of the movies."

New Cinematic photos will appear at the top of your photo grid as featured highlights.


Once you've updated to the latest version of the Google Photos app, you'll start to see new, cinematic versions of your Memories as featured highlights at the top of the app's photo grid. From there, you'll be able to share your image with friends and family members as a short video clip.

Another upgrade: the app's automatically curated Memories will now include things like your favorite people and activities. And if you want, you can hide specific people or time periods so they don't show up in your Memories at all.

Aspinall adds that Cinematic photos are still a work in progress, so over the next few months you can expect to see some changes and tweaks to how they look.

See also: Google Photos is ending unlimited free storage. Here's what you need to know