Google's Motion Stills app lets you create the best-looking GIFs on the web

Sharing Live Photos from Apple's latest iPhones is now a whole lot easier, thanks to Google's new Motion Stills app.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
A Live Photo before and after stabilization with Google's Motion Stills app.
Image: Google

It's now much easier to share Live Photos from the current generation of Apple's iPhone, thanks to a new app from Google.

The company has released Motion Stills, an app that will smooth out shaky Live Photos and convert them into GIFs so they can be easily shared on the web or moved to cloud storage.

Live Photos is exclusive to the iPhone 6S and can be viewed on other Apple devices too, but not the web. Motion Stills allows these images to be shared on any device, regardless of the OS.

There are other third-party apps available to convert Live Photos into GIFs, but Google's magic touch is the video stabilization it employs to separate the background and freeze it while allowing the foreground to stay in focus.

Google highlights that it's using a video stabilization algorithm that's been refined through processing hundreds of millions of videos on YouTube as well as photo bursts that it uses to create GIFs within the Animation feature on the Google Photos app.

"Our algorithm uses linear programming to compute a virtual camera path that is optimized to recast videos and bursts as if they were filmed using stabilization equipment, yielding a still background or creating cinematic pans to remove shakiness," Google explains.

Additionally, Google says its app won't require an internet connection to work and users don't need to sign in with a Google account to use the app.

Given Live Photos is unique to Apple's latest iPhones, Motion Stills only works on an iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, or iPhone SE. Once the app is launched, users can browser their Live Photos and select which images they want Google to stabilize and convert into a GIF. Users can share images as a GIF or a MOV video clip.

Additionally, the app can be used to turn photo bursts into a short movie. Google has also added loop optimization to pick the best start and end points for a short movie and discard blurry frames.

Google says the app is a way for it to experiment with technology for short video creation and that it may, depending on feedback, integrate this feature into other products, such as Google Photos.

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