With Google’s Guided Frame, blind people can take selfies with a voiceover

Selfies, love them or hate them, are an important part of photography because they allow us to stay in touch with loved ones and because many people spend an inordinate amount of time considering how to look their best in such photographs. (I should know; I wrote a whole damn book about ’em in a previous life.) Of course, the blind and visually impaired can still use phones; there is a wealth of audio guidance available on today’s smartphones; however, taking photographs is much more challenging for them. At least, it was until Google unveiled its Guided Frame, an idea that germinated at one of Google’s hackathons.

This feature is incredibly sophisticated; all you have to do is point your phone’s camera in your direction, and the device will automatically adjust the angle and rotation to capture your entire likeness.

You can get the most out of your photos by following the on-screen instructions, such as “Move your phone right and up,” and by using the handy countdown to perfect your poses and expressions. This link will take you to the appropriate portion of Google’s Made By Google ’22 event.

“A selfie to me, and to many blind users, is a way to express yourself,” says Ling Wong, who worked on the team that brought Guided Frame to Pixel’s camera software.

I’m glad to see that both smartphone manufacturers and tech conferences are focusing on increasing accessibility features. The fact that the entire event was subtitled in high quality and signed in American Sign Language is illuminating. It’s wonderful that Google is leading the charge to make accessibility a standard part of every stage of product development.