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Google’s native camera app, inventively named Google Camera, has some new tricks up its sleeve. Google has added a selfie flash, the option to double-tap to zoom, and the ability to switch between shooting photos and video. Unfortunately, you’ll need a new phone to take advantage of these improvements.

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, powering 9 out of 10 smartphones Android Now Powers 9 Out of 10 Smartphones Android Now Powers 9 Out of 10 Smartphones The mobile operating system war is now over. And Android won. Because while Apple still sells shedloads of iPhones, 9 of 10 smartphones sold around the world is now powered by Android. Read More . It is better than iOS in a multitude of ways, but one thing the iPhone has always excelled at is photography. Google Camera is evening things up though, one update at a time. And v4.4 is no exception.

Google Camera Offers Flashy Selfies

The first and most obvious improvement is a selfie flash. Most Android handsets don’t boast a built-in flash on the front-facing camera. So Google has improvised by filling the screen with a bright manila color just as you shoot your selfie.

This is designed to shine warm light on your face at the moment the photo is taken. However, it will only be noticeable in low-light settings. To enable the selfie flash just enter the front-facing camera mode Take the Perfect Selfie With These Fantastic Android Apps Take the Perfect Selfie With These Fantastic Android Apps With these apps, you'll definitely have the best selfies. Read More , click the Flash icon, and switch it on.

Next up is a double-tap to zoom function. Previously you had to use the zoom bar to zoom in. But now a quick double-tap on the screen will immediately take you to 50 percent zoom. Double-tap a second time to zoom all the way back out again.

Lastly, Google has made it much easier to switch between shooting photos and video. Previously you had to swipe on the viewfinder to switch between modes. But now there’s a button next to the shutter. Simple yet effective.

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Google Camera v4.4 is designed to work on Nexus and Pixel devices running on Android 7.1.1 and above. Which rules most of you reading this out of using it. However, as people buy new phones these features will eventually trickle down until they’re available to everybody.

It’s Android vs. iOS Yet Again…

Viewed individually these improvements are nothing to write home about. The selfie flash is cool but not life-changing, unless you’re a self-absorbed narcissist. And the other features are rather obvious incremental updates. However, taken together they represent Google battling hard to wrest the smartphone photography 10 Simple Tricks to Boost Your Smartphone Photography 10 Simple Tricks to Boost Your Smartphone Photography There are a few tips that are especially useful when you're taking shots with your phone; they'll help you take your pictures from "blah" to "fantastic" in no time! Read More crown from iOS. And they’re not far from pulling it off.

Do you use Google Camera to shoot photos and video on your Android device? If so, what do you think of these new features? What else would you like to see Google add to Google Camera? Do you use a different camera app instead? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Thomas Depenbusch via Flickr

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