The Windows Photos app gets new AI object removal feature


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The big picture: This new AI-powered tool reflects a growing trend. From Google Photos to Adobe's Firefly, more apps are integrating smart algorithms to enhance and streamline photo editing. As the underlying AI continues to advance, anticipate even more sophisticated capabilities on the horizon.

Microsoft is introducing a new AI-powered editing tool called Generative Erase to its Photos app for Windows 11 and 10. Generative Erase allows users to seamlessly remove unwanted elements from their photos with just a few brush strokes.

The feature works similarly to Google's Magic Eraser, which debuted back in 2022 on the Pixel 6. In fact, built-in object erasers are now quite common across various Android skins. Microsoft aims to integrate a similar experience natively into Windows.

To use the new tool, go to the Edit tab in Photos and select Erase. You can then brush over any objects you want removed – be it an ex, a street sign, or just to crop out unwanted background clutter. The app will analyze the surroundings and generate a realistic fill to cover the erased parts. For finer selections, you can turn off Auto Apply and manually paint erase masks.

The new feature builds upon the existing Spot Fix tool in the Photos app by utilizing AI to produce more natural-looking results, especially when erasing large sections of an image, according to Microsoft.

This isn't the first AI-powered editing feature on Photos, though. The app recently received auto background removal, blurring, and replacement features. Additionally, there's an Auto Enhance button that spruces up photos with just one click.

Microsoft is bringing all these features to both Windows 11 and 10, including Arm64 devices. Users will need to be on Photos version 2024.11020.21001.0 or later.

The rollout of Generative Erase began on February 22. We are not seeing it on our end as of writing, so it's possibly being rolled out in stages. If you don't have it either, try checking for app updates manually via the Microsoft Store.

It's unclear if AI-edited images will contain metadata or watermarks to indicate they've been altered. Microsoft has not provided details on this. For now, the edits appear seamless and largely undetectable.

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I agree that it's a great tool... But I still somewhat upset that it's another way of big tech tracking my profile... I use google photos face recognition... It can recongnize even my pets. I think it's not fair fetched to believe they can match ones person face library with some else (even more if they share some public IPs) to create links on user profiles, and from that make links of interests to better target consumers...

Also what you erases from a photos tells what you want to keep... It's just another tracking metric.. In the end it's not a big deal, another drop in the ocean. But still there's an ocean out there.