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Google And Monk Scale: Where Does The Ten Skin Tone Scale Come From And How To Use It

Google has taken a wider range of skin tone measurements to reshape its AI system.

A new 10-degree scale can reduce racial bias and improve the representation of skin color in popular Google services.

Google is improving the appearance of skin tones within the Service. In mid-May, the tech giant announced the adoption of the Monk Skin Tone Scale (MST), a more comprehensive ten-tone metric it was starting to use to test and train its AI systems.

Using a scale is designed to help Google services better see and understand which images represent people with dark skin. It’s a direct answer to the problem with the system that Google and other companies have used to rank the complexions of people of color.

READ MORE: Google adopts a 10-level skin tone scale so that AI understands variety

You can see an example of this AI technology in action in the United States. It is an option to optimize your makeup queries based on skin color on Google Search. Separately, the company has also added filters to Google Photos designed specifically for dark skin. And this is only the beginning.

There is a lot to learn about Google as Google expands its use of the monk skin tone scale to new services and other positions. Here’s what you need to know about how we’re working to improve the look of skin tones and how Google got there.

Photos may be skewed towards lighter skin tones.

In the 1950s, Kodak dominated the film industry, selling most color films in the United States. If you used Kodak film for your shoot, you will need to go to the Kodak photo lab for development and printing, as you will need to purchase additional Kodak film to use it.

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Eventually the U.S. federal government stepped in and broke the monopoly, so Kodak developed a compact printer that any film lab in the country could use to print Kodak films in stores. As part of this kit, Kodak will also provide the lab with reference publications to help film lab staff calibrate color, shading and lighting. These referrals are called Shirley cards.

These Shirley cards appeared primarily for white women, with the exception of almost all the others, including those with dark skin. At that time, fair skin was the chemical basis of photographic technology, as these papers showed. As a result, dark skin tones were ignored and difficult to detect correctly, helping to perpetuate the myth that photographing dark skin was more difficult than photographing light skin.

The Shirley cards are named after Shirley Page, a former Kodak employee who first appeared on this color reference card. Eventually more models were introduced. They are mostly brown and white.

Google Real Tone

Digital smartphones have now largely replaced analog film. However, the racial prejudices that existed at the time still exist. However, fair complexions are also preferred in the Camera app. It is still known that computer photos on smartphones overexpose and desaturate dark skin.

That’s why last year Google launched the first AI-based tool to help combat racial bias in photography. Exclusive to Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Real Tone enhances the look of dark skin in photos and videos. We have worked with a diverse team of imaging experts to properly decipher the dark skin tone imaging process and better train our decision algorithms on our phones.

True tone filters enhance the way dark skin tones appear in photos.

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For Real Tone, Google focused on six areas to improve the camera on Pixel phones, make the camera more inclusive, and make selfies more realistic and accurate for darker skin tones.

What is the monk’s skin tone scale?

At the Google I / O 2022 conference, Google announced that it had begun integrating its Monk Skin Tone Scale into services such as Google Search and Google Images. The plan is to use the monk skin tone scale to help address skin tone distortion by better representing skin tones that have historically been underrepresented.

The Monk Skin Tone Scale is a new approach to assessing the most diverse skin tones. Google uses it during product development to generate more representative datasets to train its AI models to more accurately detect darker skin tones.

Monk skin tone scale.

Ellis Monk, an associate professor of sociology at Harvard, developed the skin tone scale 10 years ago and Google adapted it for their own digital use. Monk has done extensive research on how technology intersects with race and ethnicity, particularly in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and machine vision.

Google replaces the Fitzpatrick Scale, a system devised by dermatologists and designed to read UV exposure, with a 10-point Monk Skin Tone Scale. There are only 6 shades, mainly for fair skin. Google and other tech companies have relied on the Fitzpatrick scale for years to rank algorithm skin tones and evaluate their performance.

How is the monk skin tone scale used?

Google currently uses the Monk Skin Tone Scale to improve the appearance of the skin in two popular services, Google Search and Google Images.

In research, the Monk Skin Tone Scale will help find and present more appropriate results for people with darker skin. For example, if you’re looking for makeup-related searches, Google offers different face colors and color schemes to narrow your search results by skin color. This will help you find something like an image “Wings Eyeliner Tutorial ” for the shades of darker skin.

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You can filter images based on skin color in Google Search.

Google has also used the monk skin tone scale to enhance Google Photos with a set of true tone filters designed specifically for darker skin tones. Created with the help of an experienced photographer to accurately represent dark skin tones in photos, these filters are now available in the Google Photos app for iOS, Android and the web. If you go to the Google Photo Editor’s Filter tab, you will see new options like Desert, Honey, Island and Beach.

If not, how will Google use the new skin color metric?

Google wants others to incorporate the monk skin tone scale when they tag images displayed on the web for image attributes like hair color and texture. Creators, brands and publishers can use these metadata options for images and other web materials to better identify them and show them in search when they are relevant to them.

You can also filter the results by texture and hair color.

Google has released the Monk Skin Tone Scale rating system under free licensing terms open to any researcher or company. Google wants other tech companies to incorporate this metric into their development processes.

Google will continue to work with Monk to improve Libra, including running tests to validate its use in other countries such as Mexico, India, Nigeria and Brazil.

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