During its 2017 I/O keynote, Google revealed a remarkable Photos feature that could automatically remove objects that are obscuring the main subject of an image.
As an example, Google CEO Sundar Pichai presented a photo of a girl playing baseball, with the object removal feature wiping way the chainlink fence in front of her to offer a more clear picture of her at bat.
Unfortunately, despite Pichai stating at the time that feature would be “coming very soon,” it hasn’t since arrived at all — even after the tech giant has already held another I/O event.
The reason for this, according to members of the Google Photos team, is because the feature was only meant to be a tease of what Google’s machine learning capabilities.
In an interview with XDA, David Lieb, product lead for Google Photos, and Ben Greenwood, product manager for Google Photos, explained that while such object removal tech is available and can be deployed, the Google Photos team is ultimately building their product by prioritizing what’s “most important” for people.
Further, when asked by 9to5Google about availability of the feature, Greenwood said “I wouldn’t say it’s coming very soon.”
Given these statements, it’s currently unclear when (or even if) the Google Photos object removal feature will ever make its way to the public.
That said, users digging around a late 2017 Google Photos update discovered bits of code from the object removal feature, so hopefully it will come out at some point in the future.
The feature is one of several announcements made at I/O over the years that never panned out, including Allo and Doze.