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Google today updated its Motion Stills app for iOS that automatically improves Live Photos taken with iPhones and one model of iPad.

Now it’s possible to create cinemagraphs that freeze the areas of an image that aren’t moving while allowing for the movement of the key action. It’s similar to what Microsoft offers in its Pix camera app for iOS. But it’s more than just stabilization. And it’s certainly more than what you get out of the box with the Camera app on your iOS device.

My colleague Ken Yeung juggling in a clip made with Motion Stills for iOS.

Above: My colleague Ken Yeung juggling in a clip made with Motion Stills for iOS.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

“After freezing the background into a still photo, we analyze our result to optimize for the perfect loop transition. By considering a range of start and end frames, we build a matrix of transition scores between frame pairs,” Google research scientist Matthias Grundmann and staff software engineer Ken Conley wrote in a blog post. “A significant minimum in this matrix reflects the perfect transition, resulting in an endless loop of motion stillness.”

Looping has become popular following the rise (and fall) of Twitter’s six-second Vine and the emergence of Hyperlapse from Microsoft and Facebook-owned Instagram.

Motion Stills also lets you add text to clips you make in the app. You can customize the size, typeface, and location of text.

“With Motion Text, you can easily position text anywhere over your video to get the exact result you want,” Grundmann and Conley wrote. “It only takes a second to initialize while you type, and [the text] tracks at 1000 FPS [frames per second] throughout the whole Live Photo, so the process feels instantaneous.”

Google introduced Motion Stills in June. An Android version is not available. But if Google’s Gboard third-party keyboard app is any indication, then these capabilities should show up on Android in due time.

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