There’s often something in a vacation photo that’s stopping you from garnering thousands of likes on social media — like a photobombed passenger or an unsightly lamppost.
Or maybe something you just personally can’t take – an ex-partner, for example.
But Google offers a solution. Its Pixel 6 Pro features a “Magic Eraser” tool that promises to remove “photobombers and unwanted objects” in “just a few taps.”
Ailbhe MacMahon (pictured at the Eden Project) tests the Magic Eraser tool on the Google Pixel 6 Pro on a trip to Cornwall. The tool promises to remove “photo bombers and unwanted objects” with “just a few clicks”. In the image on the right, two figures have been removed from the background of the shot
Going… Gone: A view of Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, littered with people and a lamppost (left). A few seconds of magic erase cleans up the scene (right)
On the left, a silhouetted person strolls along the beach at Carbis Bay as the sun sets. On the right is the same image with the rogue passerby removed thanks to Google’s magic
The photos above show a path leading down from the train station to Carbis Bay Beach, with the signs removed using the Magic Eraser feature from the image on the right
The view of Porthminster Beach from the path leading from Carbis Bay to St Ives. On the right, the passer-by was deleted from the original image (left) using the Google editing tool
We tested this feature on a holiday to Cornwall to see if the tool could give our images a premium travel influencer shine.
The result? Nearly.
It’s not a new concept, but unlike dedicated editing apps or Photoshop software, the “Magic Eraser” is built into the phone’s photo album and sits alongside the usual editing tools like filters and cropping.
We’re trying it out before boarding our train at London’s Paddington Station – if people walk into the frame of a photo we’ve taken outside the train compartment, Magic Eraser will suggest deleting them. One click and phew, they’re gone, leaving their luggage behind.
Ailbhe boards a Great Western Railway train bound for Cornwall at London Paddington station. On the right, the Magic Eraser has erased the other train passengers
The two images above show the scene outside the train window on the route between Exeter and Dawlish in Devon. On the right, the Coca-Cola can has disappeared
The view from Ailbhe’s guest room at the Carbis Bay Hotel. On the right, the coffee table has been cropped out of the shot, leaving a “shadow”.
Ailbhe’s guest room at the chic Carbis Bay Hotel. Right her purse was dropped
A serving of seared scallops at Walters On The Beach, one of the Carbis Bay Hotel’s restaurants. Ailbhe’s lip gloss has disappeared from the image on the right thanks to the editing tool
A train ride later we arrive at the Carbis Bay Hotel, which hosted last year’s G7 Summit and is situated on the seafront at St Ives. Our Beach Suite’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer too good-to-be-true views of the ocean. We capture the view on the phone and try to remove the suite’s coffee table from the shot – it works, but leaves a spooky shadow.
While the beach looks inviting, we spend the afternoon at the hotel’s heated pool overlooking Carbis Bay. The scene is prime vacation album material, especially when we eraser the other swimmers out of sight so it seems like we have the navy blue lagoon to ourselves.
The next morning we follow the path along the coast to St Ives, erasing stray lampposts and traffic cones from our photos along the way. A local tells us that the G7 summit has drawn more holidaymakers to this corner of Cornwall than ever and the conditions are ripe for photo bombing as we stroll past the crowds to pretty Porthmeor Beach.
Above is the Carbis Bay Hotel’s heated pool overlooking the bay. On the right, the floats have been removed from the frame
Pictured is the route through Carbis Bay Hotel to reach the path to St Ives, with walkers on the route wiped off to the right of the picture
The image on the left shows traffic cones at Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, while the image on the right shows the beach after the traffic cones have been removed
An exhibition of work by Argentine artist Ad Minoliti at Tate St Ives – with a distant visitor in the right shot
The view of Carbis Bay – with the lamppost removed in the right shot – from the path up to the train station
The next stop on our vacation snapshot tour is the Eden Project, an eco-attraction where we see the world’s largest indoor rainforest, plus a few visitors who will soon be wiped out.
While our photos might pale in comparison to those of a real travel influencer – partly because I’m not a big photographer first – the Magic Eraser tool improved them significantly. The tool works best in sunlight when objects are positioned against a clear background, such as a blue sky. Anything with a pattern or three-dimensional surface behind it can be harder to erase and will produce a slight blur in the shot, but overall it’s a much nicer memory of a getaway.
The next day we make our way to the train station looking back at the beautiful Cornish coastline. Luckily we have plenty of perfect photos to remind us of.