Google Camera lets you to take pictures and videos with all smartphones and tablets running Android 4.4 KitKat, benefiting from advanced features including Panorama, Photo Sphere, and Focus Effect.
Three creative picture modes
Google Camera is an updated, standalone version of the camera app that's available on all Nexus and Google Play Edition devices.
The app has a camera mode with all the basic shooting features (built in HDR, grid and flash functions) and a video mode with a new feature that prompts you to move the camera into horizontal mode in order to avoid vertical video syndrome.
There are three creative picture modes available: Panorama mode makes it easy to take panoramic pictures in "high definition", Photo Sphere mode lets you take pictures with a 360 degree field of vision, and Focus Effect allows you to focus on a target and add blur to the background in order to simulate a shallow depth of field or bokeh effect.
Fully revised, streamlined use
For this first standalone version of its photo app, Google has completely revamped the camera's usability. Simplified and reorganized, it now provides access to all the camera's features from a side menu that automatically hides itself.
The shutter button has been changed and is now situated in the middle of a large black band (totally useless) at the bottom of the screen.
On-screen instructions are available to help you capture shots using the advanced modes (Photo Sphere and Focus Effect).
Unfortunately, with this update, Google Camera fails to offer many features. There's no automatic face detection, no options to adjust the white balance, no scene selection, and no option to take photos while recording video. There is also no timer, burst mode, or night mode.
An application lacking in features
The arrival of the Google Camera app is great news for Android users who don't have a Nexus or Google Play Edition device. For others, however, the camera lacks many features.
By trying to keep it simple, Google Camera has unfortunately lost a bit of its appeal. The arrival of the Photo Sphere, Focus Effect, and Panorama modes, however, are great features which alone are enough to justify installing the app.
Remote shutter control for Android Wear watches New Photo Sphere user interface Performance improvements and bug fixes