Google launches a palette of 10 skin tones to promote ‘image fairness’

Google announced Wednesday that the company will start using 10 shades in skin tone palettes used in gadgets and apps to promote “image fairness.”

“Today, we’re taking another step in our commitment to image fairness and improving the representation of our products,” Google said in a statement from Tulsee Doshi, product manager for the AI ​​team at Google. “In partnership with Harvard professor and sociologist Dr. Ellis Monk, we are releasing a new skin tone scale designed to be more inclusive of the spectrum of skin tones we see in our society. Dr. Monk studied how skin tone and skin colorism has been affecting people’s lives for over 10 years.”

A Google employee speaks during the company’s annual I/O Developer Conference at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, United States, May 11, 2022. (Google/Jana Asenbrennerova/Handout via REUTERS/Reuters)


Google says the new scale was designed to be more “representative” of all skin tones and found that the new model is more inclusive than the current tech industry standard “especially” for people with skin tones. darker skin.

“In our research, we found that most of the time people feel grouped into racial categories, but there’s all this heterogeneity with ethnic and racial categories,” Dr. Monk said. “And many categorization methods, including older skin tone scales, don’t pay attention to this diversity. This is where a lack of representation can arise…we need to refine how we measure things, so that people feel represented.”


The headquarters of Google is seen in Mountain View, California, United States, October 28, 2021. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Getty Images)


Monk through Photoshop and other digital art tools has curated 10 tones – a manageable number for people who help train and evaluate AI systems. He and Google surveyed about 3,000 people across the United States and found that a significant number said a 10-point scale matched their skin tone as well as a 40-shade palette.

Doshi called Monk’s scale a “good balance between being representative and being docile”.

FILE – A woman walks past the Google logo at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan/AP Newsroom)

Google says the new skin palette will come in handy when people of color search for products in search results.

“Seeing yourself represented in results can be key to finding truly relevant and helpful information, which is why we’re also rolling out enhancements to show a wider range of skin tones in image results for broader searches on people, or where people show in results,” the statement read. “In the future, we will integrate the MST scale to better detect and classify images to include a wider range of results, so everyone can find what they are looking for.”

Google says the new Real Tone filters “will be rolling out to Google Photos on Android, iOS, and Web in the coming weeks.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox Business.

Reuters contributed to this report

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