ChromeOS can step up to add background blur and other camera effects for video conferencing
Who knows if your chat client will make this a paid feature in the future?
Videoconferencing is a big deal, period. Regardless of the ongoing ordeal we are still experiencing, video conferencing would have gained momentum in one way or another. So much so that a number of chat clients, including Google Meet, have integrated cloud-powered background blur effects for most of us who are stuck in our messy, unrepresentable rooms. . For Chromebook owners, however, you may soon get more bang for your buck with OS-level capabilities.
9to5Google marked a rather explicit potential feature flag in the Chromium Gerrit called #vc-background-blur it’s been in the works for a while. Digging deeper, the feature could actually be one of multiple ongoing effects – including something called Portrait Relighting – made possible by something called or at least involving the EffectsStreamManipulator. EffectsStreamManipulator was described as having been “extensively tested” on ChromeOS boards running Intel Tiger Lake and Alder Lake chips (11th and 12th Gen Core products). Separately, another feature called “AUTO_FRAMING” was also mentioned in this commit. If it looks like what we saw with what was Google Duo, that means your chat client’s field of view will be cropped and adjusted to your positioning relative to where you are in the camera.
There are a few hurdles the dev team will have to jump through before the feature actually goes live – one of them includes how to lock the manipulator to the stream that goes into the client – so we’re willing to bet that the wait for these features will last for months.
Rebasing background blur and other video effects from a cloud service to local hardware will keep some users from paying for those extra features, but as noted with the benchmark hardware, you’ll probably need a more expensive ChromeOS device to enjoy.