Google Motion Stills GIF Creation App Lands On Android

When Apple introduced Live Photos with its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus handsets, it also opened the door for developers to think of creative ways of tapping into the feature. It did not take long for Google to jump on board with Motion Stills, an app that stabilizes Live Photos and lets users view and share them as looping GIFs and and videos. Now that same functionality is available on Android.

"From its initial release, the community has been asking us to also make Motion Stills available for Android. We listened to your feedback and today, we're excited to announce that we’re bringing this technology, and more, to devices running Android 5.1 and later!," Google stated in a blog post.

Motion Stills

Motion Stills on Android introduces a new recording experience where everything that users capture gets instantly transformed into short clips that are easy to watch and share. Capturing a short Motion Still clip can be done with a single tap like a photo. Users also have the option of condensing a longer recording into a feature called Fast Forward. What this does is stabilize and trim the video.

There is actually some pretty impressive engineering that went into this app. Underneath the hood, the Motion Stills app uses an algorithm to compute and store the necessary stabilizing transformation as a resolution texture map. The app is then able to leverage the texture map and stabilize recordings in real-time using a phone's built-in GPU hardware during playback. It is a more efficient (and battery friendly) approach than writing a new, stabilized video.

Google also uses its engineering magic for the Fast Forward feature in Motion Stills. Fast Forward can process up to a minute of video, and users have the option of changing the speed from 1x to 8x. For that to be possible, Motion Still encodes videos with a denser I-frame spacing to enable efficient seeking and playback.

"We also employ additional optimizations in the Fast Forward mode. For instance, we apply adaptive temporal downsampling in the linear solver and long-range stabilization for smooth results over the whole sequence," Googe explains.

Motions Stills is available now on Android in Google Play.