What is Google Real Tone? How does the Pixel camera feature work

Google recently revealed a file Pixel 7 And the Pixel 7 ProTwo smartphones with the familiar camera feature: Real Tone. Read on to find out all about it.

This guide covers everything you need to know about Google Real Tone, including what it is, how it works, and where to find it…

What is Google Real Tone?

Real Tone is a Pixel camera feature designed to improve accuracy when reproducing dark skin tones where previous Google phones were poor.

Google has worked with more than 60 photographers of different races to train the Pixel’s camera to more accurately capture darker skin tones, preventing them from appearing darker or brighter than they look in real life.

Real Tone is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to address skin tone bias in artificial intelligence and camera technology.

Google explains on its website that “this racial bias in camera technology has its roots in the way it was developed and tested”.

“Virtually all camera sensors, processing algorithms, and editing software were trained on light-skinned datasets as a baseline, considering a limited range of skin tones. This bias persisted for decades, because these techniques were never modified for those with darker skin.”

Since Real Tone is built into the Pixel’s camera, it is also supported in many third-party apps, such as Snapchat.

How it works?

Rather than relying on a single app or technology, Real Tone follows a framework that addresses six core areas of Google’s imaging technology.

First of all, the Pixel camera has been trained to detect a variety of faces to ensure the camera gets a central image in a variety of lighting conditions.

Next comes the white balance. Auto white balance is designed to best reflect a variety of skin tones.

Auto exposure is responsible for how bright photos are taken on the Pixel, so Google has improved that as well.

Moreover, the company has developed a new algorithm to reduce the effect of stray light on the photo, ensuring that dark skin tones do not appear dull when framed by a sunlit window, for example.

Avoiding blur is key to getting a good photo, so Google has used AI in a specially designed Tensor chip to keep images sharp in low-light conditions.

Finally, Google Photos’ auto-enhance feature works with photos taken with smartphones outside of Pixel, meaning other Android users can improve the color and lighting in their photos after they’re taken.

All of the above is applied to the Pixel camera, which is then tested by professionals to expand the Google Photos datasets.

Google Real Tone on Pixel 7
True Tone on Pixel 7. Photo: Google

“We continue to work with image experts – such as photographers, cinematographers and colorists – who are celebrated for their beautiful, accurate images of communities of color,” said Florian Koenigsberger, Head of Image Equity at Google.

“We ask them to test our cameras in a wide range of harsh lighting conditions. In the process, they take thousands of photos that make our image data sets 25 times more diverse – to look more like the world around us.”

Recently, Google opened the Monk Skin Tone (MST), a scale developed by Harvard professor Dr. Ellis Monk that is more comprehensive and offers a wider range of skin tones than current tech industry standards.

What pixels does Real Tone support?

Real Tone was launched on the Pixel 6 in 2021 and can be found on the following phones:

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