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Google’s Super Bowl ad unveils Pixel's AI camera tool to assist people with blindness capture photos

The one-minute-long ad employs a practical blurring effect to showcase Pixel phone’s AI camera tools.

Search giant Google will soon unveil its new ad for the Pixel 8 smartphone in the upcoming Super Bowl, the national football league of the United States. The ad has been partly filmed with a camera obscured by petroleum jelly. This was a decision taken by a blind director, Adam Morse, to transport people into the point of view of a blind character.

The one-minute ad features the practical blurring effect, showcasing how the Pixel phone's AI camera aids visually impaired individuals in photography. Scheduled for the second quarter of the game, Google released a behind-the-scenes video today (February 1) detailing the ad's creation, with plans to unveil the full spot soon.

The commercial, named Javier In Frame, tells the story of a blind man who falls in love and starts a family. Capturing pivotal moments through selfies, each photo begins with the perspective of the visually impaired protagonist before gradually focussing on every snap, revealing his evolving life from bachelorhood to fatherhood.

The Pixel 8 phone from Google features Guided Frame technology, an AI assistant directing the camera operator on positioning and framing shots. It was introduced in 2022 for low-vision or blind users to capture memorable pictures. Creative agency Gut produced a behind-the-scenes film documenting this year's production, tracking Morse's direction of the commercial.

This is Google’s third consecutive year displaying the Pixel ad in the Super Bowl. The company has utilised its presence during the game to spotlight AI progress in its phones, a central theme resonating across both Google and the industry. This trend mirrors the increasing availability of technology in consumer applications.

In a blog published on December 19, 2022, the company explained that it worked with blind people directly while developing the feature.

“We were focussed on the wrong solution: telling blind and low vision users where the front camera placement is. After we ran a preliminary study with three blind Googlers, we realised we need to provide real-time feedback while these users are actively taking selfies,” says Lingeng Wang, technical program manager, Guided Frame (Google), in the blog post.

In 2023, Google’s Pixel 7 commercial focussed on Magic Eraser which fixes photos. The ad featured American actor and comedian Amy Schumer, Greek-Nigerian Basketball player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and American rapper and singer, Doja Cat.

In 2022, Google highlighted Real Tone, a camera tool that captures people’s true skin colours in its Google Pixel 6. It also won a Cannes Lions Mobile Lions Award.

The trend of incorporating inclusive features for smartphone users has been steadily increasing. In 2023, Apple introduced an advertising campaign titled The Invincibles. This campaign offered a viewpoint by showcasing the inspiring stories of disabled dogs who regained their mobility through customised prosthetic devices, with the help of Apple iPhone 14 Pro.

Also Read: Super-Pups take centre stage in Apple's latest campaign

The company's other campaign, titled The Greatest, received the Outstanding Commercial award at the 2023 Emmy Awards. This campaign emphasised how Apple's products are meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Also Read: Apple’s 'The Greatest' wins 2023 Emmy for Outstanding Commercial, marking a year of creative brilliance for the brand

The Super Bowl, an event in American professional football, is played between the winners of the National Football League's (NFL) American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. Held annually in January or February, the game is hosted by various cities across the United States. The tournament will commence from February 11, 2024.

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