Google Photos’ Magic Editor Will Refuse To Make These Edits

Google first announced Magic Editor at Google I/O 2023. The feature is now available inside the Google Photos app on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, Android Authority reported. With Magic Editor, you can harness the power of generative AI to perform complex image edits with ease. This lowers the skill and experience barrier and democratizes complex image editing.

On the flip side, many have wondered if Google has adopted enough guardrails to prevent users from abusing Magic Editor. As it turns out, there are at least some guardrails present on Magic Editor, preventing users from making these kinds of edits.

Google Photos v6.60 includes code around various error messages that users would see when preforming a few prohibited Magic Editor edits. Magic Editor will refuse to edit:

Photos of ID cards, receipts, and other documents that violate Google’s GenAI terms

Images with personally identifiable information

Human faces and body parts

Large selections or selections that need a lot of data to be generated.

Mashable reported Google doesn’t want you potentially breaking laws with its Magic Editor app on Pixel phones.

Mashable noted that Android Authority combed through the latest Google Photos update and found strings of code to Magic Editor, the new Pixel 8 feature that lets you do some light Photoshop-esque things with just a few taps of the finger.

In reference to Magic Editor’s restrictions, Mashable reported this makes a lot of sense, so much so that you wonder why these error messages weren’t already present in Magic Editor at launch. Android Authority said an older version of the app did block it from making the above edits, but not all of them.

For what it’s worth, Magic Editor isn’t nearly as good at photo editing as someone with a deft Photoshop hand would be. Any kind of forged document made with it would probably be pretty easy to spot if you looked at it for a few seconds. But Google doesn’t want to take any risks, which is the right move.

Gizmodo reported that everyone’s talking about how creepy generative AI is, so Google Photos won’t let you edit pictures of your driver’s license, ID cards, or anything personally identifiable. If you try to use Magic Editor with a compatible Pixel device, Photos pops up a window to let you know it can’t complete the action since it may violate its terms of use.

According to Gizmodo, there is trepidation right now about the global foray into AI-powered editing. The fear seems centered chiefly around folks “faking” official documentation for nefarious purposes, like swapping out a photo on an ID card to gain access or buy something online. While those things happened in the past before artificial intelligence made it more accessible, the point was that it wasn’t so easy to do.

Personally, I think Google made the right choice with its Magic Editor. Those who want to use it for nefarious means will be thwarted by the AI itself. It should be noted that this affects Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users.

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