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Facebook to start "fixing" your photos

Barry Collins
17 Dec 2014
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New auto-enhance tools will fix your smartphone snaps before they're added to your timeline

Facebook will begin automatically "enhancing" photos taken on mobiles, in a bid to rid the world of dimly lit smartphone snaps. The new auto-enhance feature has already been introduced for iOS devices and will soon arrive on Android, according to a report on TechCrunch.  

The auto-enhance tool is designed to make it easier for people to quickly post smartphone photos to their Facebook timeline, saving users from faffing around with editing tools, which most people won't use anyway. A slider will allow users to tweak with the brightness, shadows and clarity of a photo, in case the Facebook algorithm gets it wrong.

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Facebook isn't the first service to offer auto-enhanced photos. Google has offered a similar feature via its Google+ app for some time. The Google+ app uploads a copy of users' photos to the cloud and then applies enhancements, putting an icon on photos that it has fiddled with. The results are erratic, however, giving Facebook more than a little room for improvement.  

Photos are a key battleground for the social networks, not least Facebook. It paid $1 billion for photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012, and may even have acquired the auto-enhance technology as part of that deal. Instagram this week added another five filters to its app, which remains independent of the main Facebook app. 

Twitter revamped its photo filters earlier this month, offering different options in an Instagram-like strip along the foot of the screen and allowing users to control the strength of each filter. Google+ continues to add new editing tools to its service, now offering selective adjustments that allow users to, say, boost the brightness in only a small section of the photo. That feature has been borrowed from Snapseed, which Google acquired in 2012.

The social networks' photo facilities have stolen the thunder of dedicated sites such as Flickr, which has long since faded as the default place to share digital photos.   

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