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Google keeps adding Pixel features it claimed it didn’t need

Date published: 2019-10-17
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.

Just like everyone else
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
With the Pixel 4, Google has finally added a second lens to the back of its phones. Speaking onstage at yesterdays launch event, Google Researchs Marc Levoy explained the decision with a relatively simple statement of fact. Some subjects are farther away than youd like, he said, so it does help telephoto shots to have a telephoto lens.
It seems like a weirdly obvious point to make, but Levoy had to spell it out because until last year Google was claiming that its phones could get by with just a single rear camera. Check out this interview with Wired, where one of Googles product managers said that a second lens was unnecessary because of the companys expertise in machine learning. The Pixel 3 included a feature called Super Res Zoom, which used a burst of photos to increase resolution while youre zoomed in; no telephoto lens required. For context, Apple had already been adding a second camera with a telephoto lens to its iPhones for two years.
Some subjects are farther away than youd like, so it does help telephoto shots to have a telephoto lens
Googles not alone in disparaging a competing products features, only to have them crop up in its own products soon afterward. To a certain extent, thats just the reality of product marketing spin. Nevertheless, its led to some memorable moments.
My favorite example of this is the first Pixel, which arrived a month after Apple had controversially dropped the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. Check out the trailer Google used to announce the phone below (the exact moment were looking for is at 0:48, in case youre feeling lazy).
Its a great little joke! But just a year later Google had a change of heart and removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from the Pixel 2, and in doing so committed exactly the same sin it had mocked Apple for.
It was a similar story when Marc Levoy claimed the original Pixel didnt need optical image stabilization (it was later included on the P ...

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