Google says Pixel Visual Core is not used for Pixel 2’s native camera app

The tech media has been operating under the assumption that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were utilizing a dedicated vision co-processor, the Pixel Visual Core co-opted by Intel, when taking its pictures.

But Google has been dropping crumbs about the Google Camera app not actually using the processor. Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica received a statement from the company saying that the Google Camera app does not use it and that only Facebook, Instragram, Snapchat and WhatsApp are the first apps to do so.

The developer team behind the CopperheadOS fork tweeted that the Google Camera app actually uses the default digital signal processor from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.

FoneArena even had a question on this topic addressed by Brian Rakowski, vice president of product management at Google.

The Visual Core which we will be turning on in the coming apps will primarily be for 3rd party apps. The cool thing about it is that it gives pretty good performance in a default capture scenario. So when 3rd parties use the camera APIs they’ll be able to get those high quality HDR processed images.

[…]

Turns out we do pretty sophisticated processing, optimising and tuning in the camera app itself to get the maximum performance possible. We do [zero shutter lag] and fast buffering to get fast HDR capture. So we don’t take advantage of the Pixel Visual Core, we don’t need to take advantage of it. So you won’t see changes in the pictures captured from the default camera app in the coming weeks.

The need for better picture quality is most apparent when it comes to third-party apps linking up with the camera’s APIs, so if the default digital signal processing on the Snapdragon produces the results it does on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, credit to Google for pulling off its software.

That said, we’re all on notice on what we say about what Google says about its phones.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.