Big Data // Big Data Analytics
05:13 PM
Connect Directly
Repost This

Google Develops Celebrity Face Recognition For YouTube

Researchers have developed an automated technique to associate faces detected in an image with people's names found in Web pages text or tags.

YouTube rose to fame by democratizing stardom. "Broadcast Yourself," the site exhorts. But celebrity isn't democratic. It's a matter of have and have not, and most people fall into the latter category.

Being able to separate the famous from the hoi polloi has certain financial implications for YouTube. Stars attract viewers, so being able to identify videos with A-List talent might suggest where to direct marketing and promotional resources. And because stars tend to feature prominently in videos uploaded to YouTube without authorization, being able to identify popular icons could help spot copyright violations.

Such speculation may offer some hint as to why Google's researchers have been working on celebrity facial-recognition technology.

In a paper titled "Audiovisual Celebrity Recognition In Unconstrained Web Videos," presented at a conference in Taiwan last month, Google researchers Mehmet Sargin, Hrishikesh Aradhye, Pedro Moreno, and Ming Zhao describe work they've been doing to recognize the faces of celebrities in videos.

The problem is that facial recognition on video doesn't work very well in many circumstances. The researchers note that successful examples of facial recognition on video tend to involve constraints, such as a TV anchor appearing as a talking head, without much movement, under controlled illumination.

Thus, the researchers have developed an automated technique to associate faces detected in an image with people's names found in Web pages text or tags. The system doesn't need to be taught and can accommodate the scale at which YouTube operates.

"The Internet is in a constant state of flux, and new 'celebrities' are constantly added to the popular culture even as the celebrities of the past fade," the paper states. "This ability to learn autonomously to constantly add to the existing gallery of celebrities is therefore a major design principle of our work."

The system can recognize "hundreds of thousands of celebrity faces by exploiting the tremendous depth of the Internet," according to the paper.

How Google and YouTube will use this knowledge isn't clear. A YouTube spokesperson said the research is not related to YouTube's Content ID System, which allows content owners to identify and manage their content on the video-sharing site.

At the very least, facial-recognition technology could enhance the user experience on YouTube by ensuring that uploaded videos featuring celebrities include annotations that identify the stars.

The Internet has made video accessible to everyone, including your competition. InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.