Google says retouched selfies can make people feel bad about how they actually look, so it’s changing how it handles these photos with its newest phones. For the Pixel 4A, 4A 5G, and the 5, it’ll turn face retouching off by default from the Camera app. It’ll soon update the phones to relabel the retouching options and avoid any sort of judging words, like using the word “beauty.” If someone wants to use face retouching effects, Google will detail how the settings are applied and how they affect the photo.
“When you’re not aware that a camera or photo app has applied a filter, the photos can negatively impact mental wellbeing,” Google says in a blog post about the changes and why it made them. It’s unclear if and when older Pixel devices might receive this update, but the company recommends that all camera apps turn filters and retouching off by default.
Last year, Isaac Reynolds, the lead product manager of the Pixel camera, chatted with The Verge about how his team handles filters and face retouching. He mentioned that the team collaborated with wedding photographers to find the right retouching balance, so people still look like themselves but their best version.
The company turned selfie retouching on by default for the first time with the Pixel 4, so it’s interesting to see the team already reversing that decision. At the time, it seemed like Google knew people valued accuracy but also wanted to look their best in photos. Now, it seemingly cares more about keeping selfie takers informed on what’s happening to their photos and why.