Google announced At its I/O Developers Conference today, the company will be incorporating a 10-degree skin tone scale into several of its products in the coming months. The scale was created in collaboration with Harvard professor and sociologist Dr. Ellis Monk. The new Monk Skin Tone (MST) scale is designed to cover a wider range of skin tones. Google releases the MST scale so that everyone can use it for product research and development.
The company is introducing new features that use scale to make it easier for people to find more relevant search results. Now, when you search for makeup or beauty related queries on Google Images, you’ll see a new option to further refine results by skin tone. For example, if you search for “bridal makeup looks”, you will be able to find the results that work best for you. In the future, Google plans to implement the MST scale to better detect and rank images to include a wider range of results to make it easier for users to find what they are looking for.
In addition, Google is working on a standardized way to tag web content that will allow creators, brands, and publishers to tag their content with attributes such as skin tone, hair color, and hair texture. The tags will allow search engines and other platforms to easily understand images.
Google says the MST scale will help it create more representative datasets so it can train and evaluate AI models for fairness. For example, a company uses scale to improve models that detect faces in images.
The company also uses the MST scale to improve Google Photos. Google last year presented a real tone for Pixel phones, which is an AI-powered post-processing feature that aims to make faces with all skin tones look as good as possible. Now the company is introducing a new set of Real Tone filters that work well with skin tones and are rated using the MST scale. New Real Tone filters coming to Google Photos on Android, iOS, and the web in the coming weeks.
Google says the new approach and scale will help evaluate whether a product or feature works well on different skin tones. The company will continue to work with Dr. Monk to evaluate the MST scale in various regions and product applications. Google emphasizes that the MST scale is an important next step in improving the inclusivity of skin tones in technology and will help it make progress in its quest for image fairness and improved presentation.
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