Google Removes Default Selfie Filters on Pixel Phones to Reduce Unhealthy Comparison
Google has this week announced an important development in its approach to image editing, and filters applied to images taken via its Pixel device.
One of the key concerns in the current digital era is comparison between users, against highly edited and crafted images of people online, which are often not representative of reality. Social media can be deemed as “false”.
Google has taken a significant step in its own approach to such, by announcing that it will be removing filters applied by default in selfie images taken on Pixel devices.
As explained by Google:
“We conducted multiple studies and spoke with child and mental health experts from around the world, and found that when people are not aware that a camera or photo app has applied a filter, the photos can negatively impact mental wellbeing. These default filters can quietly set a beauty standard that some people compare themselves against.”
As a result of its investigations, Google’s looking to make its filter usage more transparent, while it’s also removing references to ‘beauty’ in its retouching tools.
“Starting with the Pixel 4a, the new Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, face retouching options are available in the camera app, but turned off by default. In an upcoming update, you’ll see value-free, descriptive icons and labels for face retouching options. And if you choose to use face retouching effects, you’ll see more information about how each setting is applied and what changes it makes to your image.”
This is a small but significant step in the broader battle against unrealistic comparison, especially in relation to the younger, more impressionable users, who are increasingly conducting more of their personal interactions online.
With Google’s new experiment, it is important for us to find ways to shift away from unrealistic representations of our day to day life, in order to reduce the pressure on other people who may feel that they must meet certain society standards.
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