Google patent delivers close-up photos when your phone can't, Blade Runners would approve

Google patent delivers closeup photos when your phone can't, Blade Runners would approve

It's been 30 years since we saw Deckard track down replicants by having a machine "enhance" pictures, and yet we're still stuck with distant-looking photos when we want more detail than our smartphone cameras can manage. While we'd argue that a few phones already live in that Blade Runner future, Google has just obtained a patent that could give the rest of us a helping hand. If the zoom isn't up to snuff, the proposed software could gauge a mobile device's position and orientation to offer a closer, already-taken photo from a server as a substitute, whether it's a Street View shot or a more traditional image. The geocoded system could even cue photos based on the time of day and year to provide that extra dash of authenticity. We already get a trace of the concept through photo overlays within Street View itself, although there's no indication as to whether or not Google will link our camera apps directly to a cloud of substitute photos -- suffice it to say that the industry has changed a lot since Google was using the iPhone 3G to illustrate its photography concepts.