Google Photos’ AI Image Editing Tools Are Now (Mostly) Free

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Key Takeaways

  • Google Photos AI tools like Magic Eraser are now available to everyone for free.
  • The tools previously required either a Pixel phone or a Google One account.
  • Access will begin rolling out on May 15th

Google will make many of its AI-powered Photos image editing tools available to everyone for free starting May 15th.

The features previously required either a Pixel phone or a Google One subscription. The expanded access also brings the features to Pixel tablets for the first time.

Magic Editor is the centerpiece and uses generative AI to perform complicated edits, such as moving subjects or changing the sky. It originally launched with the Pixel 8 series, but will be available on all Pixel devices.

All Google Photos users on Android and iOS will get 10 free Magic Editor saves per month. If you need more, you’ll have to pay for a Premium Google One Plan with at least 2TB of cloud storage.

Other tools are more modest but will be available to all Google Photos users. Magic Eraser can remove unwanted background objects and people. Photo Unblur clears up subjects in any photo, including old images. Portrait Light, meanwhile, changes the brightness and position of lights in portraits.

Access will roll out over the “following weeks,” Google said. As such, you may have to wait a while before all compatible Photos features reach your account.

The additions will come just a day after the Google I/O conference starts on May 14, amid fiercer competition among AI image editing tools. The company is facing challenges from Adobe Photoshop, Luminar Neo, Pixlr, and other editors that can achieve similar effects. While Photos won’t necessarily outperform those rivals, it may be a viable alternative for certain edits.

Google is also under pressure to demonstrate that its broader pivot to AI translates to real-world success. The company used its Cloud Next 2024 conference to build generative AI into many of its business products, such as a Vids tool that creates videos for Workspace users. The Photos expansion could help draw more users to Google’s consumer services, not to mention platforms like Android.