Technology

Google Meet adds skin-smoothing beauty effects for video calls

A highly requested feature, according to Google, is finally being introduced in Google Meet that allows users to apply ‘beauty’ effects during video calls. Announced in a Google Workspace update on Wednesday, portrait touch-up is currently rolling out to Google Meet on mobile devices for early adopters, with an extended rollout to remaining accounts scheduled to begin on October 28th. Google said it also plans to bring the portrait touch-up feature to Google Meet on the web “by the end of 2023.”

There are two portrait modes available that provide different levels of complexion smoothing, under-eye lightening, and teeth whitening. “Subtle” mode, as the name suggests, provides very light cosmetic adjustments, while “Smoothing” mode is a touch heavier with the enhancements. Regardless of what mode you select, Google claims it enables users to “lightly touch up your appearance,” so it seems the new feature isn’t intended for making significant adjustments. We have not yet been able to access the feature to judge its results ourselves.

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Portrait touch-up will be switched off by default and can be enabled in the Google Meet settings. The feature is only available to users with premium Google accounts, including Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Education Plus, Google One, and Google Workspace Individual accounts. Portrait touch-up isn’t available to users with a personal Google account.

Given how prolific filters and facial smoothing effects are across video-related apps like TikTok and Instagram, it’s surprising that it’s taken Google so long to introduce similar tools to Meet. Rival video conferencing apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom both already offer a range of ‘beautifying’ features that blur the user’s skin or even apply virtual makeup effects. Still, this should be a welcome feature for employees who are tied into using Google Meet via their workplace Google account — especially those who typically leave their webcams off when not looking their best.

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