Google is building a more racially inclusive Android camera

It's working with diverse experts to better capture dark skin tones.


There's more to a good smartphone camera than just slapping some lenses atop a photo sensor. There's also plenty of software that goes into making sure all of your selfies look good. Today at Google I/O, Android VP Sameer Samat revealed that Google is also working to make its Android camera more inclusive, with support for a variety of darker skin tones and different types of hair. The company is working together with a diverse group of industry and imaging experts, who are advising Google on how to adjust its auto white balance and exposure settings, as well as offering general aesthetic advice.

"As the world's largest OS, we have a responsibility to build for everyone," Samat said. "As part of our ongoing commitment to product inclusion, we're working to make technology more accessible and equitable." The smarter camera software should be able to do things like reduce stray lights in a photo, to make room for more natural brown skin tones. (As someone with a dark skin tone, advancements like this have been a long time coming.) Google is also developing ways to detect different hair styles more effectively, which should be a huge help for selfie shots.

Samat says we can expect to see these camera improvements on Pixel devices this fall, but Google is also committed to sharing everything it leans together with the entire Android ecosystem. Hopefully, other phone makers will take a few notes from Google's more inclusive camera software. By doing so, Google aims to "make cameras that work fairly for everyone," Samat said.