Google Pixel's Super Res Zoom appears to be heading to Chromebook devices

The AI-assisted zoom feature has been a staple of Pixel phone cameras for a while, and now tablets are getting in on the action.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer

Chromebook Plus X360

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Super Res Zoom, a feature that uses AI to make zoomed-in photos appear sharper than they really are, has been a highlight of Google Pixel phones for some time now – and it may finally be heading to other devices.

For the most part, Google Chromebooks only have a front-facing camera that's primarily used for video calls. A few Chromebook tablets do have a rear-facing camera as well, but those cameras don't offer nearly the same quality as phones do, so they're often not utilized. 

Also: I tested Google's new Chromebook Plus and the generative AI features blew me away

That could soon be changing though, as it appears ChromeOS, the operating system that Chromebooks run on, is getting a new zoom feature -- a traditional digital zoom (there's no optical zoom on any Chromebook) along with "super resolution." 

For now, that feature is buried deep in the code of the latest developer build of the OS and turning it on has no effect. But, the fact that it's there would seem to indicate that something is on the way. The code doesn't specify the feature being limited to any specific device, so it's likely that all Chromebook cameras will soon be getting a small boost. 

This leaves an important question though. Are people really using their tablets to take photos anyway? Why would Google make an investment into improving something that's so seldom used?

It's worth noting that there is specific code in the new build that refers to the "Geralt," or a new tablet with the MediaTek MT8188 chipset. If all cameras are getting the additional super res zoom but the yet-unreleased tablet is getting a separate code, is it possible the tablet would have a much better camera than we've seen to date?

Also: 5 reasons why Chromebooks are the perfect laptop for most people

There's already a line of Chromebook Plus devices that offer higher performance and more features than usual, including upgrades to the front-facing camera for video. With improved video options already here and improved photo options being teased, we could start to see Google investing a lot more in Chromebook capabilities. 

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