Google courts photographers, videographers with better raw conversion, free music


posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:56 PM EST

As search giant Google celebrates its 15th birthday, it has taken the wraps off some new features which will be of interest to photographers and videographers -- especially consumers and enthusiasts. The company is continuing to do its best to attract new users to Google+, its social networking rival to the dominant Facebook.

Google needs Plus to do well: It ties into much of what the search giant is doing in other areas, and not just for personalizing search or delivering more focused advertising. Information on likes (or +1's, in Google parlance) and the way information is being shared within Plus can be fed back to improve results of the search engine overall, as well. And Plus also pairs nicely with the company's Android operating system, an area that's clearly critical if Google wants to retain its dominance in the smart device era.

The company has identified photographers as key to Google Plus' potential success, which seems logical. People are by nature visual animals, and photographers provide the visual content that makes Plus (or its rivals) an interesting place to be. And it's the more experienced photographers who're providing particularly attractive images, so Google wants those users in particular. Many enthusiasts are shooting raw, and providing for their raw files is a good way to attract them -- which Google did in an update earlier this year.


Now it's made improvements to its raw-to-JPEG conversions on Google Plus, using the expertise of recent acquisition Nik Software. In all, raw files from 70 cameras made by Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony will now be better-converted. Announcing the news, one-time Nik development manager Ronald Wotzlaw also promised improvements for more cameras would be forthcoming. That's important, because there are still some major brands not represented, including Fujifilm, Leica, Pentax, Ricoh, Samsung, and Sigma.

In all, the list of cameras with improved raw conversion on Google+ is as follows:

  • Canon EOS: 100D, 1000D, 1100D, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1Ds Mark III, 1Dx, 20D, 30D, 350D, 400D, 40D, 450D, 500D, 50D, 550D, 5D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 600D, 60D, 650D, 6D, 700D, 7D, M
  • Canon Powershot: G12, G1X, S100
  • Nikon: 1 J1, 1 J2, 1 J3, 1 S1, 1 V1, 1 V2, Coolpix A, D300, D300s, D3000, D3100, D3200, D4, D40, D40X, D5000, D5100, D5200, D600, D700, D7000, D7100, D800, D800E, D90
  • Olympus: OM-D E-M5, PEN EP1, PEN EP2, PEN EP3, PEN EPL3, PEN EPL5
  • Panasonic: LUMIX DMC GF1
  • Sony: Alpha 700, NEX-5, NEX-5N, NEX-6, NEX-7, NEX-C3, NEX-F3, RX1, RX100, SLT Alpha 55, SLT Alpha 77, SLT Alpha 99

And videographers get some goodies, too. Choosing the music to accompany your movies can be a pain: As a consumer or even an enthusiast, licensing music is out of the question. Finding high-quality music which you can use free of charge is time consuming, though. Now you have 150 royalty-free instrumental tracks to choose from, and they're not just for use on YouTube. The terms simply state that the music isn't to be used or redistributed separately from your videos and other content. And if you're a musician looking to build a name for yourself -- or simply get your music heard -- you can offer to contribute tracks of your own. More details on the YouTube Audio Library site.

(via Engadget and The Next Web; Google+ logo image courtesy of West McGowan)