Google’s Pixel Visual Core is a mysterious piece of hardware. When it was first activated in the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, it was revealed it would make HDR+ processing and the overall camera experience on the smartphone faster since there would be a dedicated place for processing to take place. I didn’t entirely notice a difference when I was testing the Pixel 2 XL, and neither did many other reviewers. And according to Google, it looks like there really isn’t a difference.
In an interview with two leads from Google dating back to last November, it’s stated the company doesn’t use the Pixel Visual Core in its own camera app. The reason? It’s simply not necessary what with the amount of processing already present on the handset.
— Evan (@emuneee) February 7, 2018
For third-party apps, however, the Visual Core is a necessity since, with apps like Instagram and Snapchat, only the camera sensor itself is used and not any additional processing. With the Visual Core, added processing can be included to improve the pictures you take.
Whether the Pixel 2 camera app will ever benefit from the Visual Core has yet to be determined, but it isn’t likely considering what the camera’s already capable of. Perhaps we’ll see something with the Pixel 3 in this regard, but for now, the Visual Core will remain exclusive to third-party apps.