Google unveils new skin tones for apps


Google on Wednesday unveiled a palette of 10 skin tones that it described as a step forward in making gadgets and apps that better serve people of colour.

The company said its new Monk Skin Tone Scale replaces a flawed standard of six colours known as the Fitzpatrick Skin Type, which had become popular in the tech industry to assess whether smartwatch heart-rate sensors, artificial intelligence systems including facial recognition and other offerings show colour bias.

Tech researchers acknowledged that Fitzpatrick underrepresented people with darker skin.

The company partnered with Harvard University sociologist Ellis Monk, who studies colourism and had felt dehumanized by cameras that failed to detect his face and reflect his skin tone.