Ruchika Jha

Google Pixel 8 helps the visually impaired capture life's moments in latest Super Bowl ad

The ‘Javier in Frame’ advertisement enables the Guided Frame feature of Pixel cameras.

Search giant Google's Super Bowl ad for the Google Pixel 8 smartphone, titled Javier in Frame, depicts a blind man chronicling his life with heartwarming selfies. From capturing cute moments with his pet dog to celebrating post-marathon triumphs or cherishing precious firsts with his partner and newborn, the Google Pixel's Guided Frame feature ensures each moment is flawlessly captured and framed.

Guided Frame, an AI-powered accessibility feature for Pixel cameras, utilises audio cues, high-contrast animations, and tactile feedback to assist individuals who are blind or have low vision in taking photos. It was launched in 2022 to help people take selfies from the front camera and now works with the rear camera to recognise faces, pets, food and even objects.

The commercial is directed by a blind filmmaker Adam Morse and created by Google Creative Lab in partnership with US-based advertising agency, GUT. The director made an appearance in the behind-the-scenes video, discussing the challenges he overcame and his authentic approach to bringing the story to life while representing individuals across the blind and low vision spectrum. Part of the ad was filmed using a camera lens coated with petroleum jelly, offering viewers to see the world from Javier’s perspective.

In a Google blog published on February 2, 2024, KR Liu, head of disability studio, Brand Innovation, states, “Working with the disabled community to design Pixel’s accessibility features has always been a guiding principle. We take this same approach in our creative work and are always working to field input from Googlers, subject-matter experts and community leaders to improve representation. Together, with the community, we will continue to do what we can to elevate disability innovation.”

“Through my work in disability innovation at Google and on Live Caption before joining the company, I’ve seen firsthand the ways that the products and features we’ve designed with and for people with disabilities have worked to make the world a more accessible place,” she adds.

Robert Wong, vice president, Google Creative Lab, says, “The collaboration between Google, our partners at GUT, Javier, the blind actor who played the lead, and our blind director Adam Morse was an incredible working experience. When you spend time with people from a different community than yours and get to see things the way they do, it’s enlightening. We’re excited for Super Bowl viewers to see this story that we created together and the promise of AI to empower everyone.”

There are tools available for both Android and iPhone users who are blind, have low vision, are deaf, or have hearing loss.

For users who are blind or low vision:

TalkBack (Android) - TalkBack, a Google screen reader, provides hands-free control of the device and also offers support for multi-finger gestures.

VoiceOver (Apple) - VoiceOver, accessible on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other Apple devices, provides aural descriptions and assists users in navigating screens or trackpads.

For users who are deaf or have hearing loss:

Live captions (Apple, Android) - It provides users with real-time speech captioning, producing transcriptions of audio or visual content on their devices.

Live Transcribe (Android) - It offers users real-time speech-to-text functionality, capturing conversations and converting them into text in multiple languages, facilitating translation as well.

FaceTime (Apple) - FaceTime has the capability to detect when sign language is being used, highlighting that user and incorporating the live captioning feature.

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