Google Assistant Deploys ‘Guided Frame’ Selfie Voice AI
Google has created a new voice AI tool for people who are blind and vision impaired to take selfies. The new Guided Frame feature for Google Assistant, created at a company hackathon, leverages Google Assistant and machine vision to ensure a selfie captures the user’s face even if they can’t see it.
Guided Frame is part of Google’s accessibility features. When enabled, turning the front-facing camera on will prompt Google Assistant to verbally direct the user as to the position and angle to move the camera so that they are entirely in the frame. The instructions are straightforward, telling the person holding the phone to move the device up, to the right, tilt it forward, and so on. Once the phone is in place, the AI will even take the photo automatically after a countdown to allow the user time to set their pose and expression.
“Guided Frame is a smart selfie feature that helps blind and low-vision users to take a beautiful selfie. A selfie to me, and to many blind users, I think is a way they express themselves,” explained Lingeng Wong, a technical program manager for Google Hardware and one of Guided Frame’s creators. “[At] Google, we strive to make our technology and product accessible for everyone to use. So it’s super important for us to develop a camera experience that’s inclusive. We are constantly checking with our blind and low-vision users because their feedback helps make our product much better.”
Google introduced Guided Frame at its annual Made by Google event, where it also released the new Pixel Watch and Pixel 7 smartphone line. Both come with their own voice AI upgrades for sending messages and planning workouts, and controlling smart home devices. The voice assistant has also added a new “Silence” Quick Phrase to send phone calls to voicemail without saying “Hey Google” and will transcribe voice messages right after they arrive, another accessibility benefit, this time for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Google is also updating its Direct My Call service, which uses the Duplex business voice AI technology to help navigate customer service phone trees and has handled more than 50 million calls. Now, the Pixel 7 and Pro will show the call menu options on the screen so that callers can tap their choice on the screen before they even listen to the options.