Google is getting ready to make it easier to identify when people have edited a selfie. As reported by Engadget, this forms part of Google's digital wellbeing initiative. This is designed to provide more control and transparency.
Google has added a number of features to its digital wellbeing initiative. These included setting daily timers on apps to give you a 'data detox'. At the end of your daily timer, Google will turn your apps to greyscale to give you a break from your phone.
Google has also introduced sleep tracking and data management features as part of its digital wellbeing initiative. The company hoped this would help users understand their data use and how it impacted their sleep.
This new feature forms a part of trying to help users gain transparency over what they see online. So many of us have seen airbrushed and over-edited photos all over the internet.
However, discerning exactly which ones are and are not edited can become difficult. It can also have detrimental effects on mental health as individuals see images to be normal when they have in fact been edited.
Google to make it clear when images have been edited
To this end Google has created a design framework. This is mean to provide control around selfie features as many smartphones also edit selfies automatically without users knowing.
The aim is to help respect "personal choices around face retouching on smartphones". The company has found that when someone is unaware an image has been edited, the images can negatively affect mental health.
Product manager Vinit Modi wrote a blog post on this issue. He said that "these default filters can quietly set a beauty standard".
Most phones offer selfie retouching features in their apps. It can also often take multiple steps to find them and disable them. This new approach should make it more obvious if one of these effects has been applied to an image.
The feature will begin rolling out on the Pixel 4a with it enable by default. An update will also aim to use more neutral language and symbols rather than words like 'beautifying' or 'perfecting'.
Google also aims to convince other companies to use these guidelines outside of its own devices. Snapchat is an example which Modi uses. He says shares the company's beliefs on the subject.
The main issues with this and the next step in the puzzle in this area where these images get shared. If edited images continue to go unlabelled on platforms such as Instagram then much fo the problem remains. How companies look to tackle this is the real challenge of this subject.