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Microsoft is embracing AI-powered enhancements in its multimedia apps, ushering in exciting developments for the Windows 11 Photos app. Recently, Microsoft unveiled plans to integrate background blur, akin to the popular "portrait mode" found in smartphones. Moreover, the OneDrive app is set to receive an upgrade with smarter photo search capabilities, enabling users to search for images based on their content, such as beach scenes or snowy landscapes.
Earlier this year, Microsoft faced criticism for its transition from the old Photos app to the new one. However, the legacy Photos app still holds an advantage in some aspects, particularly its ability to search for specific content, such as beach scenes. Furthermore, if you've connected Photos to OneDrive, you can now conveniently access OneDrive's extensive photo search functionality through the regular Photos app.
In May, Microsoft reintroduced Spot Fix to Photos, a feature that allows users to target and eliminate anomalies in small areas using AI, such as removing specks of dust from a laptop screen.
Background blur is a significant addition to the Windows 11 Photos app and bears a resemblance to Paint3D's Magic Select, which has now been incorporated into Paint. Both features serve the purpose of identifying and isolating the foreground subject from the background. While Magic Select removes the background entirely, Background Blur applies an AI-driven blur filter to the background. However, the previous iteration of the portrait mode/background blur feature, as demonstrated on the now-discarded Surface Duo 2 dual-screen smartphone, faced criticism for its partial application of the background blur. It remains to be seen if Photos has improved upon this aspect, but the new Background Blur feature does offer adjustability.
Microsoft is currently testing these new features in the Canary and Dev Channels of Microsoft Photos. While there's no guarantee that they will be universally rolled out, there is a strong likelihood, offering a promising outlook for users. With these unexpected improvements, it raises the question of whether Magic Select could be the next enhancement on the horizon.
In summary, Microsoft's commitment to enhancing its multimedia apps through AI-powered features is evident with the introduction of background blur and improved photo search capabilities in the Windows 11 Photos app, breathing new life into its functionality and usability.