Google Camera 4.1 updates come with a new twist for selfies

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The latest and final developer preview of Android 7.0 Nougat launched earlier this month, but a few of the native Google Camera app’s hidden features – and missing ones – have surfaced as the operating system is prepped for its official launch. While the update includes a few nice additions to video and even a new physical gesture, the app no longer supports advanced exposure settings.

Update Aug. 1 2016: Early beta users must have voiced their disappointment in the missing advanced settings — the feature looks like it won’t be ditched after all, according to Android Police. The exposure compensation (called “manual modes” in earlier versions, though that’s not quite accurate) isn’t in the settings menu anymore though. Instead, when the user taps on the screen to focus on an object, the slider appears on the side of the screen. The move is a bit similar to how the iPhone’s native camera app adjusts exposure compensation by first tapping the photo, then dragging a slider.

A new gesture makes switching from the back to front camera easier. Twisting the phone forward then backward a few times swaps to the selfie camera and vice versa, much in the same way Motorola’s Moto devices use a twist gesture to trigger the camera.

The app update is also expected to include the ability to pause and restart video – a nice feature that could cut back the need to stitch videos together with an editing app.

Along with the additions, the latest version eliminates some features. Manual mode –  essentially an exposure compensation slider that lets users easily brighten or darken images — launched with Google Camera 3.2.  That setting is absent from the 4.1 Camera app in Android Nougat’s Developer Preview 5.

The removal of manual modes could very well be an attempt to make the camera easier to use. The app’s user interface has also been simplified, putting the settings all onto one screen and reducing the amount of taps needed to adjust them. The menu is now also accessible with a swipe from the left edge. The option to set the volume buttons as a shutter release or for zoom is also a recent addition.

While the advanced setting is missing, the improved interface, front camera gesture, and video pausing are nice additions — particularly considering anyone who’s really looking for a manual mode would download a third-party app with more robust features anyway.

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