What you need to know
- Google is releasing a Super Bowl ad this year that follows the story of a blind man and his girlfriend while highlighting the Guided Frame feature.
- On Pixel phones, Guided Frame uses artificial intelligence to help people with blindness or low vision take photos.
- The behind-the-scenes clip of the production process for the ad shows how Guided Frame can be a life-changing feature for visually impaired people.
After introducing Guided Frame as a way for low-vision or blind users to capture great photos in 2022, Google will highlight the feature in a Super Bowl ad this year. We’re now getting a better look at how the feature aids visually impaired users in a behind-the-scenes video for the ad.
Guided Frame debuted alongside the Pixel 7 series but has remained a focus for the Pixel 8 series. New to this year’s Pixel phones is the ability to use Guided Frame on the rear camera system. Previously, it was limited to the front-facing camera.
The advertisement, shot by blind director Adam Morse, follows people who use Guided Frame on Pixel to capture moments. However, it’s important to note that Pixel phones were not actually used to shoot the ad itself — professional cameras and equipment were used for that.
Morse aimed to try to convey the blind and low-vision experiences to people with sight. Part of that effort included using petroleum jelly on camera lenses to create a visual distortion similar to what Morse experiences.
“I’m doing my best to translate an experience of blindness that feels authentic to me, that can also be accessible for people with sight,” said Morse in the BTS video.
Guided Frame uses object detection and non-visual cues to help visually impaired people take good photos. The cues include audio instructions, such as: “Hold for a photo,” “Move your phone down,” and “One face in the frame.” Guided Frame can also give users haptic feedback and show high-contrast visuals that can be perceived by some blind or low-vision people.
When developing the feature initially, Google worked with blind people directly, as the company explained in a 2022 blog post.
“Blind and low-vision testers helped us identify and develop the ideal combination of alternative sensory feedback of audio cues, haptics and vibrations, intuitive sound and visual high-contrast elements,” said Lingeng Wang, who is a technical program manager at Google that works on product inclusion and accessibility.
This year, Google detailed how Guided Frame now works with objects other than people in a separate blog post about the Pixel 8 series cameras.
You can watch the full ad during Super Bowl LVIII, which sees the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas on February 11, 2024.
Google’s flagship phone in 2024
The Google Pixel 8 Pro is undeniably a flagship phone with a Tensor G3 chip and great camera hardware. A big part of the appeal is the Pixel 8 Pro’s excellent camera software, which includes Guided Frame.