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Google Photos Can Now Recognize Your Face, Even When Facing Backwards

Google Photos Can Now Recognize Your Face, Even When Facing Backwards

by Low Boon ShenJune 9, 2023
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Google Photos Can Now Recognize Your Face, Even When Facing Backwards

We’ll let you decide if this lands on the uncanny valley spot – but Google now has the capability to tag faces even when they’re completely facing opposite to the camera. As Android Authority’s Rita El Khoury found out, the Photos app now silently gained the feature to recognize faces even from just the back, and tags them correctly for the most part.

As the writer noted, Google Photos simply does not tag person from such images before the feature came into play – because there simply is no face to begin with. That all changed recently as she found out many of the photos (even before the feature was added) taken from the backside has been figured out by Google. While this is almost dark magic, there may be a few potential explanations.

The most obvious would be AI (or ML, machine learning) – as it is all the rage these days – and Google presumably has trained its model for such scenarios for the intention to recognize faces with off-center angles (side profile, tilted, wearing masks, or even just warped by camera perspective). It perhaps got so good that the app managed to figure out the person in question simply by looking at the back of someone’s head, which is nothing short of impressive… and probably a small bit of uncanny-ness in it too.

While this is indeed wild, it looks like the app isn’t 100% confident, so it instead tells the user there are “face available to add”. Not entirely automated, but still plenty useful when it’s not expected that AI is powerful enough to do this. That said, some edge cases apply: including photos where it’s a close-up side angle of face, which the app didn’t know a face is there, a wider zoom with the same angle, however, has been figured out by the app. The writer noted around “80-85%” success rate among the photos taken from behind or in partial angles.

Google has yet to comment on this, nor there seem to be any information regarding updates to face recognition definitions. Good news for those who often tag photos, though at this point you might ask: is AI getting too smart?

Pokdepinion: Artificial intelligence can be really powerful on some applications, that’s for sure. 

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Low Boon Shen
Is technology powered by a series of tubes?