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As Google Pushes the Final Pixel 4 Update, a Look Back at What Went Wrong (Premium)

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I was transfixed by Google’s Pixel 4 launch presentation, which featured an incredible lecture on smartphone photography by distinguished engineer Marc Levoy. Unfortunately, this event is where it all went south for Pixel, both as a brand and technologically.

How instrumental was Levoy in making Pixel the best smartphone platform for photography? Well, he led the Google Research teams that created computational photography wins like HDR+, Portrait Mode (which somehow created background blur with a single lens), and Night Sight, among other accomplishments. These are technologies that competitors later raced to duplicate, often taking years to rise to the quality that Pixel had previously achieved.

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