According to Google, a highly requested feature that allows users to apply ‘beauty’ effects during video calls is finally being introduced to Google Meet. Announced in a Google Workspace Update On Wednesday, portrait retouching is rolling out to Google Meet on mobile devices for early adopters, with an expanded rollout for remaining accounts scheduled to begin on October 28. Google said it also plans to bring the portrait retouching feature to Google Meet on the web “by the end of 2023.”
There are two portrait modes available that provide different levels of complexion smoothing, under-eye brightening, and teeth whitening. The “Subtle” mode, as the name suggests, provides very light cosmetic adjustments, while the “Smoothing” mode is a little more intense with the enhancements. Regardless of which mode you select, Google says it allows users to “slightly tweak your appearance,” so it appears the new feature isn’t intended to make any significant adjustments. We haven’t yet been able to access the feature to judge its results ourselves.
Portrait retouching will be disabled by default and can be enabled in Google Meet settings. The feature is only available to users with premium Google accounts, including Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Education Plus, Google One, and Google Workspace Individual accounts. Portrait retouching is not available for users with a personal Google account.
Given how prolific filters and facial smoothing effects are in video-related apps like TikTok and Instagram, it’s surprising that it’s taken Google this long to introduce similar tools to Meet. Rival video conferencing apps such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom already offer a range of “beautification” features that blur the user’s skin or even apply virtual makeup effects. Still, this should be a welcome feature for employees who are tied to using Google Meet through their Google account in the workplace, especially those who typically leave their webcams off when they’re not looking their best.