During its I/O 2017 conference yesterday, Google demonstrated a new algorithm-based technology that can remove unwanted objects from existing photographs. The demonstration showed the technology removing a chainlink fence from the foreground of an image, with the final result offering no discernible indications that the fence had ever existed (around 10:45 in the video below).
The technology was demonstrated on stage by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai during a conversation about the company’s expanding visual technology. ‘Coming very soon,’ Pichai explained, ‘if you take a picture of your daughter at a baseball game and there’s something obstructing it, we can do the hard work and remove that structure and have the picture of what matters to you in front of you.’
It looks to be an evolution of the research Google and MIT have been collaborating on for some time – in fact, their demonstration from 2015 includes a very similar chain-link fence demo. This method takes advantage of the parallax effect to identify and remove obstructions from photos.
Unfortunately, Pichai didn’t elaborate on when this technology will be made available aside from ‘very soon,’ nor did he specify where the technology will be available. Given the company’s Google Photos announcements, however, it seems likely the technology will be implemented within that product.