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beauty

Google says beauty filters bad for mental health, Pixel phones won’t use them by default



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Modern-day smartphones come with a lot of enhancements to improve photography experience, with many of them offering beauty filters and other such features to smoothen out skin details in pictures. However, there has always been debate over the use of such methods, with few studies showing that these filters can have a negative effect on mental health.

It appears Google has also been keeping eye on such reports, with the company now announcing that it will be distancing its phones from such features. Google has said that it will be turning them off by default on its own phones and encouraging other OEMs to do the same.

In a blog post, it said, “We set out to better understand the effect filtered selfies might have on people’s wellbeing… especially when filters are on by default. We conducted multiple studies and spoke with the child and mental health experts from around

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beauty

Google says ‘beauty’ filters are bad for your mental health, Pixel cameras won’t use them by default

Google says 'beauty' filters are bad for your mental health, Pixel cameras won't use them by default

Most smartphones have offered some type of ‘beauty’ filter for years, which smooth out pimples, freckles, wrinkles, and other details in your face. There are a few studies that show such functionality can have a negative effect on mental health, and as a result, Google is now turning them off by default on its own phones and encouraging other OEMs to do the same.

“We set out to better understand the effect filtered selfies might have on people’s wellbeing,” Google said in a blog post, “especially when filters are on by default. We conducted multiple studies and spoke with child and mental health experts from around the world, and found that when you’re 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.”

Google has created

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beauty

Google takes aim at ‘beauty filters’ with design changes coming to Pixel phones

Google is taking aim at photo face filters and other “beautifying” techniques that mental health experts believe can warp a person’s self-confidence, particularly when they’re introduced to younger users. The company says it will now rely on expert guidance when applying design principles for photos filters used by the Android Camera app on Pixel smartphones. In the Pixel 4a, Google has already turned off face retouching by default, it says, and notes the interface will soon be updated to include what Google describes as “value-free” descriptive icons and labels for the app’s face retouching effects.

That means it won’t use language like “beauty filter” or imply, even in more subtle ways, that face retouching tools can make someone look better. These changes will also roll out to the Android Camera app in other Pixel smartphones through updates.

The changes, though perhaps unnoticed by the end user, can make a difference

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beauty

The beauty and the shame of Google’s Pixel 5 gamble

What is a “Google phone”? That’s a question I’ve been trying to wrap my moist mammal-brain around for many a moon now, and the answer has rarely stayed still for long.

Early on, back when the “Google phone” concept first came around with the Nexus line of devices (pour one out, everyone), the idea was meant to represent a dramatic shakeup of the phone-buying experience. The first Nexus phone, the now-classic Nexus One, had not only high-end hardware (for the time) but also a wild-seeming web-based sales model where you’d buy the phone unlocked, direct from Google, and without any carrier involvement. (Things were pretty different back in the prehistoric time of 2010 — as this Nexus launch video will quickly remind you.)

The idea of the “Google phone” eventually evolved to mean a niche-level device for developers, enthusiasts, and other people in the know. For a while, it also

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