Google’s Pixel Visual Core doesn’t actually work in the Pixel’s own camera app

Ever since it was revealed as
Google’s hidden chip inside the Pixel 2
, the Pixel Visual
Core has been clad in a little bit of mystery. Google hasn’t
helped matters in its communications, and until recently it
seemed like the Visual Core would aid the main camera app — by
making the company’s signature HDR+ image processing faster and
more efficient — as well as
third-party apps like Instagram and Snapchat
. As it turns
out, however, the Pixel Visual Core is, for now at least, only
used in helping other apps gain the HDR+ functionality.

This became clear as Google announced that it was activating
the Visual Core this week, noting that the beneficiaries of the
change would be any third-party apps that use the Pixel’s
camera. The reason why Google isn’t making use of its dedicated
image-processing accelerator inside its own app has been
revealed in a November interview by the Pixel camera team:
they’ve done a lot of custom optimizations already, and the
Visual Core just isn’t necessary.

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