With Android 14 Google officially announced the support for Ultra HDR to normal JPEG images after they had internally embedded the ability into Google Messages in September. An Ultra HDR image is nothing but a normal JPEG image with an HDR gain map added within its metadata.
If you have the Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro, you probably have seen the highlights in your images brightening up in front of your eyes. But how do you share what you see in the photo you took? Sharing images on social platforms usually scrapes off the metadata of the image turning it into a normal JPEG.
And here comes the support for Ultra HDR images in Google Messages. Now users of Google Messages with a device running on Android 14 and a capable display (it’s not a rare combination) can also see the highlights and shadows of the image reaching its full potential inside their chats.
Google Photos and Google Chrome also support Ultra HDR
While an Ultra HDR image still holds the same .jpg file extension, not all apps support the HDR gain map to let you experience the underlying specialties of the photo. Soon after the announcement of the Google Pixel 8 series in early October, Adobe Lightroom emerged with the ability to not only have the support for showing you and editing the photos while keeping the metadata for Ultra HDR intact, but it also lets you capture images with the gain map for Ultra HDR, in your latest Pixel devices with Android 14.
Additionally, Google Chrome and Google Photos can implement the stored gain map on the display. However, you should note that Google Photos scrapes off the metadata for the gain map while you edit the image with the app. It’s kind of a surprise for now as Lightroom supports editing the Pixel exclusive images while Google’s Photos application does not.
Google’s Messages seemed to be one of the latest apps to take advantage of the gain maps added to the standard JPEG images. However, AssembleDebug from TheSpAndroud discovered the support added to the ‘Messages’ app back in September.