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Google Privacy Entertainment Your Rights Online

Google Builds Biometric Models of Celebrity Faces 56

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-isn't-that-special dept.
theodp writes "Want the latest pics of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Sarah and Bristol Palin? Prince Harry? Britney Spears? So do the Enquiring minds at Google! On Thursday, the USPTO published Google's patent application for Automatically Mining Person Models of Celebrities for Visual Search Applications, in which the search giant describes how it used spectral analysis to construct a database of 'highly accurate biometric models' to allow it to recognize the faces of 30,000 celebrities wherever they might appear. Included in the patent drawings is Plot 104 of '141 images in Barack Obama's face model', which Google notes is much less 'polluted' than Plot 102 of '71 images in Britney Spears' face model.' Watch out, celebrity stalkers — there's a new kid in town!"
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Google Builds Biometric Models of Celebrity Faces

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  • by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@hot m a il.com> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:49PM (#36181038)
    1) Privacy - it's over.
    2) When is this getting into Picasa?
    • Re:Two thoughts (Score:4, Informative)

      by Albanach (527650) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @01:04PM (#36181300) Homepage

      2) When is this getting into Picasa?

      Picasa, the desktop app, already does facial recognition. You need to train it because most of us are not celebrities. I guess it would be trivial for Google to include their celeb database, so Picasa can automagivally tag you if you add a photo of yourself posing with a celebrity.

    • How is privacy over, may I ask? This still has a way to go before it can be used in real-time analysis of CCTV footage. And even then, you can just put on a Guy Fawkes mask like V (purposely not anonymous), or one of the Anonymizer Masks of Doktor Sleepless, and presto! anonymity.

      • This tool could be used to find your face anywhere on the net. While granted this would rock for stalkers, it could be used by employers to find you on facebook, even under a completely different name. Or the police upon seeing you doing something illegal in a photo (but not having your name). Suspicious spouses, and so on. Plus if we start to see citizen justice like over in China it could become far worse then we imagine. PLUS what happens with the really close false positives?

        And they're not there with C

  • Would we end up with less celebrities in the world or would the selection pressure only serve to bring us attention whores who are more prolific, neurotic, and annoying?

  • How is this different from the facial recognition that has been done in things like iPhoto for years.

    Stranger is that just yesterday Google called facebooks "facial recognition" creepy and said it was something that google would likely not do and that some other company would have to "cross that line".

    • by dzfoo (772245)

      How is this different from the facial recognition that has been done in things like iPhoto for years.

      Oh, oh! I know this one!

      The difference is that iPhoto runs on my computer and keeps its database in my computer; while Google's database is, well, not in my computer.

                -dZ.

    • Re:That was a quick about face..."

      I see what you did there

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      It seems like they are differentiating between celebrities whose image is public and non-celebrities who have a greater expectation of privacy. They are already failing at the latter though because anyone with a somewhat unique name is in danger of their face being returned in the image search results on Google.

  • Remember those super ultra targeted ads that had a camera scan your retina? Then the ad would CALL YOUR name and try and sell you something. That's where this is going. www.awkwardengineer.com [awkwardengineer.com]
  • Street View: Celebrity Edition!
  • All those security cameras out there are recording everyone. And a lot of that footage is retained.

    With this kind of technology all of that past footage could be scanned and a dossier of past whereabouts created.

    (Yes, I know that our mobile phones are already reporting on our whereabouts, but at least you can turn a phone off.)

    • by hedwards (940851)

      That's not generally the case. Footage tends to be retained for a month or some fixed period of time, unless there's a law mandating a longer retention time or their is something particularly interesting about a segment of tape.

      The big problem had been that if you retained tape for more than a few months the chances of actually finding anything useful was pretty remote, but with this new technology there's the possibility of rendering much older sections of tape much more useful.

      But, in general security doe

      • by maxume (22995)

        If the face extraction is good enough, it can probably be used to cut way down on the amount of video that actually needs to be stored.

  • They have had tech very similar to this since 06 and I'm sure other organizations have had it longer than that. Take a look at Google's acquisition list, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_Google/ [wikipedia.org]
  • The premise is eerily similar to the Better Off Ted episode "&ldquo;Secrets And Lives".

    "With this technology, we have finally defeated privacy!"

    Wish I could find the clip on YouTube...
    • by kehren77 (814078)

      I miss Better Off Ted. Why do good shows get cancelled?

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Typically it's because they were dumb enough to sign with Fox.

        • by JimTheta (115513)
          As opposed to all the other networks that were beating down their door to put them on the air.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Want the latest pics of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Sarah and Bristol Palin? Prince Harry? Britney Spears?

    No!

    Not that it couldn't be useful. Anyone up for writing a CelebBlock plugin?

  • There are 30,000 celebrities?
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @03:34PM (#36183416) Journal

    Sigh. More celeb obsession.

    Google: why not develop something useful, like general purpose plant recognition, for example - so I can take a photo of a plant I want to identify and find information on? Or a building? Or other objects? Useful things, not yet more celebrity obsession...

    • by uncanny (954868)
      dammit I'm all out of mod points! I wish i could just have my cable provider cancel stations like E! because there is NOTHING OF VALUE there. But unfortunately, Google is a business, and it aims for what the masses want (and will bring in ad revenue). Intelligent people that dont obsess over the personal lives of people they don't/will never know are a definite minority.
    • http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/ [google.com]


      Not as complex as you were suggesting per se, but searching by image is already here. I've used it a few times myself and like it so far.
  • The subject is what the world really needs.

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.

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