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Google's new Pixel 6 inclusive camera tech appears to work as advertised in our first shots

Google has developed new alogorithms to eliminate perceived racial bias in smartphone cameras. (Image: Google)
Google has developed new alogorithms to eliminate perceived racial bias in smartphone cameras. (Image: Google)
Google’s new Pixel is starting to roll out to users in selected markets globally and it touts some impressive new camera features. One we were keen to try is what Google is calling inclusive camera technology designed to deliver image equity.

Google pioneered computational photography on smartphones and it has delivered industry-leading still image quality. The company has continued to develop this aspect with its latest Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cameras and the development of what it is calling inclusive camera technology. The company felt compelled to address what has been identified as inadvertent racial bias in smartphone cameras where the skin tones of people of color can look washed out.

The company believes that its latest computational photography techniques makes the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro stand out from the crowded field of great smartphone cameras by being able to much accurately and naturally capture the skin tones of people of color. According to Google, it ‘radically diversified’ the images that train its face detector to detect “more diverse faces in a wider array of lighting conditions. This has resulted in images that correct for the stray light that can wash out darker skin tones.

As you can see from the two sample images of the author embedded below the article, Google appears to have delivered on its promise. The left image is shot with the Pixel 6 11.1 MP front facing camera while the right image is taken with the 12 MP iPhone 13 Pro Max front facing camera. The difference between the two photos is quite stark. Not only is the Pixel image devoid of the stray light that makes the iPhone image look washed out, it also uses machine learning in the Tensor chip to sharpen the face using motion metering.

Given how Apple has adopted and promotes racially inclusive policies in many different areas inwardly and publicly, it will be very interesting to see how it responds. Will Apple be able to add this capability to the iPhone 13 series as a software update, or will users need to wait it out for the iPhone 14 series expected in October next year?

The image shot on the Pixel 6 produces clearer, more even and natural skin tones. (Image: Notebookcheck)
The image shot on the Pixel 6 produces clearer, more even and natural skin tones. (Image: Notebookcheck)
The image shot on the iPhone 13 Pro Max looks more washed out in comparison. (Image: Notebookcheck)
The image shot on the iPhone 13 Pro Max looks more washed out in comparison. (Image: Notebookcheck)

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Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - Senior Tech Writer - 1360 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I have been writing about consumer technology over the past ten years, previously with the former MacNN and Electronista, and now Notebookcheck since 2017. My first computer was an Apple ][c and this sparked a passion for Apple, but also technology in general. In the past decade, I’ve become increasingly platform agnostic and love to get my hands on and explore as much technology as I can get my hand on. Whether it is Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation, each has plenty to offer and has given me great joy exploring them all. I was drawn to writing about tech because I love learning about the latest devices and also sharing whatever insights my experience can bring to the site and its readership.
contact me via: @t3mporarybl1p
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 10 > Google's new Pixel 6 inclusive camera tech appears to work as advertised in our first shots
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2021-10-27 (Update: 2021-10-27)