Google recently conducted studies to analyze the effect of filtered selfies and found a negative impact on people’s wellbeing, especially when the user is not aware that the app has applied a filter. To tackle this situation, Google has switched off face retouching options in the Camera app by default, starting with the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a (5G), and Pixel 5.
According to Google, there is a significant majority of people who use the selfie camera on their Android phones. With social media setting arguably unrealistic standards for beauty and fashion, people turned to selfie apps with a wide variety of beauty filters to keep up.
Alongside the decision to switch face retouching filters off, Google says it will remove references to beauty in the app. To achieve this, the company will use iconography and language that are ‘value-neutral’.
“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,” says Google’s Vinit Modi in a blog post.
In addition, Google emphasizes that apps using face retouching settings should clearly indicate that the filter is switched on. “These are the first of many steps we’re taking to support wellbeing and bring your voice into our design process,” Google added.
In its blog post, Google acknowledges that Snapchat is one of the apps that share the company’s beliefs. Moreover, the company points out that Snapchat’s default camera experience is always unfiltered.