Microsoft is rolling out its answer to Google’s Magic Eraser, which uses AI to let you remove unwanted people or objects from photos.

The Windows version is called Generative erase, and rolling out to the Windows Photos app for members of the Windows Insider preview program. It should eventually make it way to stable versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11 in the future.

Microsoft

The Windows Photos app already has some basic image editing features, allowing you to crop, rotate, and resize pictures, apply filters, or make lighting adjustments. There’s also a Spot fix tool that offers limited automatic touching up.

But starting with Photos app version 2024.11020.21001.0, Spot fix has been renamed Generative erase and it uses AI to do a better job of removing items that you highlight… and making an educated guess as to what should replace the missing object in a picture.

Much like Google’s Magic Eraser, the new Generative erase tool lets you highlight the thing you want to remove. Microsoft has posted examples with a photo of a dog on the beach. In one example, people in the background of the shot are removed and replaced with sand, sea, and sky. In another, the dog’s leash is removed and replaced with… not entirely realistic looking fur.

The results probably won’t always be perfect, but these AI-enhanced tools tend to be a lot easier to use than Photoshop or other advanced image editing software. Honestly, this is just about one of the only applications of AI that I’m really looking forward to using more, as I find the process of touching up images rather tedious, but it’s not something I do often enough to outsource to a professional.

Google beat Microsoft to market by first launching Magic Eraser for the Pixel 6 smartphone in 2021. But since then the feature has been slowly rolling out and is now available for most recent Pixel phones as well as Google One members using Android or iOS… but it’s not available in the Google Photos web app, which makes Google’s AI-enhanced object eraser trickier to use on a desktop or other large-screen devices than Microsoft’s.

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  1. One thing I am curious about, in the future we will probably need a way to detect which images are AI tampered, perhaps even a browser plugin/extension that just blocks AI art / images just as nuisance/malware-installing ads are blocked by any decent browser. I really hate the AI image craze, it is further ruining actual art produced by artists with a prompt.

  2. One thing I am curious about, in the future we will probably need a way to detect which images are AI tampered, perhaps even a browser plugin/extension that just blocks AI art / images just as nuisance/malware-installing ads are blocked by any decent browser. I really hate the AI image craze, it is further ruining actual art produced by artists with a prompt.

      1. Yeah, I just want a browser or an extension that makes all the AI images go away… kind of like any decent browser will annihilate the Ads & those awful Malware-Installing-Ads when the elderly accidentally clicks on them.

        1. So thieves will resort to stealing people’s eyeballs next instead of the friendly ATM mugging?

          1. My point was more about profiteering from selling products which are “the problem” and then going round the World to lobby heads of state that another of your companies sells “the solution” to that problem…

            Your iris contains the greatest degree of unique, slowest-changing entropy In your body

          2. Sam Altman’s products probably be like IRL versions of that cheesy science fiction film “Eyeborgs”

          3. Haven’t seen “Eyeborgs” but it sounds hilarious 😂

            Eye’d have thought the closest dystopian equivalent would be Total Recall (and it’s effective sequel Minority Report). Though they don’t quite capture the financial aspect of this. Imagine having pre-mined a default, global, proof-of-stake currency.

  3. Now you too, yes even a dummy who can’t really use a computer, can edit out unwanted cameramen, signs, handheld mechanical devices, police officers, criminals, witnesses, doorways, or anything else that would change the context of some image in a way that doesn’t favor your narrative, without having to really look up how to do it or install anything extra.
    Imagine the possibilities for a prosecutor’s intern to imprison people for defending themselves by editing out bits and pieces of the attacking party.
    Imagine the party guests you could remove from group photos because they said something bad about that band you liked.
    Imagine being compelled to edit out photos of any and all employees that ever got fired from your company.
    Prompt based AI can’t be trusted so it has to refuse to do anything fun on ethical grounds, or randomly insert ethnic terms into the prompt before generating anything no matter how inaccurate it gets, but this is fine.

      1. So is the image you are cropping get sent to a Windows cloud or is it done locally on your computer?

        1. Knowing Windon’t, it’ll be carried out on their cloud servers…
          If you want local-only, free libre and open source, self-hostable there’s simply no point going with M$

          1. I’ve noticed there’s been more of a push to do the actual processing of AI services on your local machine since that’s easier than handling a bunch of remote sessions and it saves them a lot of power consumption and GPU cycles. It’s why, despite Microsoft being so insistent on copilot they ate right-ctrl, they set a requirement for 16 gb of RAM to even use it. See also how live captioning is done locally.
            Doesn’t mean it’s not going to be sending the original and output images to Microsoft anyway.

          2. The last part of your comment is exactly the point, really. Also, you have to rely on whatever training model and weightings they push.