Pixel 8 Pro houses its own generative AI model – here's what it means

An image of a man holding a Google Pixel 8 Pro
(Image credit: Google)

At the tail end of its recent Made By Google event, the tech giant revealed that the Pixel 8 Pro hosts its very own generative AI to help run certain features on the smartphone.

Be aware that the device’s onboard AI won’t be on the same level as the company’s most advanced models. Instead, research teams came together to create a more distilled version that’s able to fit inside the Pixel 8 Pro and it’s still plenty powerful.

According to Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services at Google, the flagship phone can run “generative AI with up to 150 times more computations than the largest [model]” on the Pixel 7. He goes on to say this tech enables “improved experiences” across the phone. 

For example, the Magic Eraser tool on the Pixel 8 Pro is capable of generating new pixels to “fill in the spaces left behind” by removed objects or people. No smudges, no blending. Everything looks relatively clean. In one of the demonstrations, they had Magic Eraser remove a car from a photograph. It looks pretty good, for the most part. However, the now empty space does look a little smudged. It’s not perfect tech. 

New AI-powered features

The upgraded Magic Eraser will be available at launch with more AI-boosted features arriving later down the line. In total, there will be three more. 

First, the Recorder app will receive a summarization tool to break down a recording into a concise, informative list highlighting key points. Next, the Gboard app will gain Smart Replies offering “high-quality reply suggestions'” while texting. The AI allows it to better understand the context of a conversation.

The most impressive of the trio, by far, is Zoom Enhance. Utilizing the power of a proprietary imaging model, the feature will sharpen zoomed-in photographs clearing up any pixelization. Google demonstrated this by getting up close to one of the towers on the Golden Gate Bridge and enhancing it. It’s impressive, but like Magic Eraser, it’s not perfect. 

In the low-quality image, you can see a few cables of the Golden Gate Bridge behind some clouds. However, in the cleaned-up version, the tips of the cables disappear. It’s a small flaw but it is noticeable if you look closely.

Google plans to roll out the upcoming trio this December. It’s unknown which will be the first to reach Pixel 8 Pro owners although we did reach out to Google for more information. This story will be updated at a later time. The company isn’t stopping there as Osterloh teased more AI-boosted software will be added to the smartphone in the years to come. And it appears there’s a lot in store as the device will receive seven years of OS upgrades.

The Pixel 8 Pro is currently available for pre-order on Google’s website for $999. It launches on October 12.

Generative AI as a whole has come a long way from late 2022 when its main public application was to generate text. Now we’re seeing it improve the quality of zoomed-in photographs like something out of a sci-fi movie. 

If you’re curious to know other interesting uses of artificial intelligence, check out TechRadar’s massive list of the best AI tools for 2023

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Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.