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Google will turn off face retouching effects on Pixel 5, Pixel 4a by default

Google has decided on this change based on studies that say artificial face retouching effects in photos can affect one’s mental health.

Google Pixel 5
Google Pixel 5 (Google)

Google launched its flagship Pixel 5 earlier this week. It also announced new features coming to Android users, and some that are exclusive for Pixel users. One of these is turning off face retouching by default in the camera app of Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. Google’s reason for this is based on studies that say artificial face retouching can affect one’s mental health.

Google is still providing face retouching options in the camera app for those who wish to use them. The features will be turned off by default. Google will also make these features more informative by having each retouching effect explained to the user through descriptive icons and labels. Google wants to make it clear what changes do the retouching effects make to your photo.

The camera app will now explain what each filter does to your photo.
The camera app will now explain what each filter does to your photo. (Google)

“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 explained in a blog post.

Google also highlighted that over 70% of photos taken on Android devices are from the front camera. Google Photos also have over 24 billion photos labeled as selfies. “Beautification” as most smartphone brands like to call it is turned on by default in almost all smartphones. Phones from brands like Oppo and Vivo have even more enhanced beautification effects and filters.

Google will introduce this change through an update rolling out to the latest Pixel phones. It is expected to arrive in older Pixel phones as well.

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