Google Camera 4.1 updates come with a new twist for selfies

google camera 4 1 twist gesture 42933118 ml
Katso/123RF
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.

Product Review

When your phone camera disappoints, grab the Olympus E-PL9

With a healthy dose of style, solid performance, and beginner-friendly controls, the E-PL9 is the perfect camera for the smartphone generation. Well, other than an actual smartphone.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Photography

How to take pictures of the Perseid meteor shower and the stars

The night sky can be both one of the trickiest and most rewarding shoots to master. Stop putting your camera away at sunset and learn how to photograph the stars in this tutorial on the night sky.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Product Review

The gorgeous Oppo Find X plays hard to get, but is it worth the chase?

Is the Oppo Find X the most beautiful smartphone we’ve ever seen? We think it’s right up there, but because it’s an import-only phone, you’ll have to put in some effort to get one. Is it worth going the extra mile?
Mobile

Third-party call recording apps no longer work with Android 9.0 Pie

There is a lot to love about Android 9.0 Pie. But as users update their phones, they noticed an annoying new issue: Google removed a workaround an Android 9.0 Pie that developers used to power third-party recording apps.
Mobile

Motorola launches its iPhone X clone, the Moto P30, in China

Motorola may be planning to launch a new series of smartphones called the P30, P30 Note, and P30 Play. Leaked photos show the P30 has a similar design to the iPhone X, complete with a screen notch.
Mobile

Motorola says 8 of its phones are set to receive Android 9.0 Pie

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

Protect your titan with the best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 screen protectors

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of this year's best phones. But what if you break the screen? Thankfully we've got the best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 screen protectors to keep that 6.4-inch screen safe.
Mobile

Google is updating Android Go with Android 9 Pie Go Edition

Android Go is a lightweight version of Android that promises to improve the user experience on devices with low-end processors or 1GB of RAM or less. Here's everything you need to know about Android Go.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts.
Mobile

T-Mobile partners with Live Nation, Pandora to offer customers more perks

T-Mobile made a few other announcements today: Not only has the carrier partnered up with Live Nation to provide offers, but customers will also be getting a free year of Pandora Plus.
Mobile

This is how Google will improve the quality of Wear OS apps

Google wants to improve the quality of Wear OS apps, and to that end the company has announced that the review process of Wear OS apps for Google Play is now mandatory. Criteria for Wear OS apps include that they work as expected.
Mobile

Is Google launching an A.I. fitness coach for smartwatches?

Google is reportedly working on a health and well-being coach for Wear OS devices. Known as "Google Coach," the assistant will be able to suggest workouts, meal plans, and more, based on a user's activity.