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Google Builds Biometric Models of Celebrity Faces

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the well-isn't-that-special dept.

Google 56

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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56 comments

Two thoughts (2)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181038)

1) Privacy - it's over.
2) When is this getting into Picasa?

Re:Two thoughts (3, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181300)

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.

Re:Two thoughts (1)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181806)

And if they added this to Picasa, I'd finally have an easy way to sort my porn collection.

Re:Two thoughts (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181866)

I know they already have facial recognition, however it has a lot of difficulty with matching side views with frontal views, as well as a ton of issues if the hair changes shape. I view this as the next level of facial recognition.

Re:Two thoughts (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36189392)

My Panasonic Lumix GF2 has facial recognition too. Need training but then it will automatically tag photos you take. Might be handy for paparazzi.

Re:Two thoughts (1)

Vlado (817879) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226126)

Actually the web portion had facial recognition before it was added to the application.

Way cool :-)

Re:Two thoughts (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181302)

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.

Re:Two thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181500)

yes because walking around in a freaking costume is exactly how one blends in anonymously and discreetly.

Re:Two thoughts (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181974)

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 CCTV systems yet. Or at least the public does not know about it yet.

Re:Two thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181938)

Privacy isn't over. Bio-metric modelling will require a spatial analysis/estimate of facial dimensions. To elude this invasion, use an advanced bio-morphological device, such as a beard or hat.

Re:Two thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36182480)

Two more.

1) Prior art?
2) Is there a set definition of how many people must know you to be considered a celebrity?

Way to go USPTO. You are about as worthless as the other Federals.

Re:Two thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36183982)

1. Fuck you! Privacy is over, when you pull it from the cold dead hands of the zombie-cyborg army spawning after my dead!
2. Despite you standing on our side, you are actively supporting the enemy and their mindset! Which means you are on the wrong side to say something like this... and survive!
3. PROTIP: "If you publish something openly to someone you don't trust (your router, your ISP, Google, anyone on the Internet you don't trust your life with), it's freely available!" No shit? THEN DON'T GIVE IT TO THOSE TYPES!!! If you publish it, you YOURSELF decided that it's not part of your privacy anymore.

What an idiot. Be happy you're not standing in front of me, cause I'd beat you down.

Porn Applications? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181042)

This sounds like it may have applications in the pornographic film industry, where they sometimes do buttsecks.

Re:Porn Applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181642)

What possible application would this have to x rated movies? Genital recognition / tagging?

What about celebrity hunters? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181372)

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?

That was a quick about face... (2)

grapeape (137008) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181374)

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".

Re:That was a quick about face... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181970)

Google Picasa has also had this for years...

Re:That was a quick about face... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36182924)

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".

In fact, Google still today adamantly denies that they will ever likely do "facebooks facial recognition".

Re:That was a quick about face... (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 2 years ago | (#36183194)

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... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36189412)

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.

Such a useful summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181414)

Thank you for providing that valuable link to the National Enquirer.

Your past becomes visible (again) (1)

karl.auerbach (157250) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181532)

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.)

Re:Your past becomes visible (again) (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36182062)

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 doesn't bother to go through old tapes unless there's some reason to do so, it's just not cost effective to look at what's already happened unless you've already determined that the record might be useful. Typically that's if there's been a disturbance or security has had to interact with somebody that's doing something illegal or suspicious and there's some suspicion that the tapes might be subpoenaed.

Of course, for smaller sites, or ones where the owner wants to keep longer records, there's no guarantee that the tapes will be destroyed promptly.

Re:Your past becomes visible (again) (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#36182174)

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.

Didn't Better Off Ted do this? (1)

JimTheta (115513) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181578)

The premise is eerily similar to the Better Off Ted episode "“Secrets And Lives".

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

Wish I could find the clip on YouTube...

Re:Didn't Better Off Ted do this? (1)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36181794)

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

Re:Didn't Better Off Ted do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36182006)

"Why do good shows get cancelled?"

Bad ratings.

I bet you were expecting a more complex answer.

  When you do care, you care one hundred and crazy percent.

Re:Didn't Better Off Ted do this? (1)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36182338)

Bad ratings.

I bet you were expecting a more complex answer.

I do wonder if they still base all of these decisions on Nielsen ratings alone. Seems pretty silly these days to use that antiquated system. I would hope they factor in things like TIVO data, cable OnDemand data, channel website episode views, Hulu, etc...

Better Off Ted was one of three shows I'd turn on ABC for (the others being Castle and Wipeout).

Re:Didn't Better Off Ted do this? (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 2 years ago | (#36183904)

I do wonder if they still base all of these decisions on Nielsen ratings alone.

Ratings are definitely a large factor, but the cost of the show per rating point is the most important thing. So, a cheap show can do relatively poorly and still survive (which is why "reality" programming is so prevalent). In the same way, if the show is produced by the network, the ratings can be much lower without cancellation. This is because the secondary markets like syndication and DVD will also put money into the network pocket.

To be honest, though, what I have seen lately is that if a show is not in the top 30 for ratings on any of "the big 4", it's a candidate for cancellation, and the smarter the show is, the more likely it's not going to be in the top 30.

Re:Didn't Better Off Ted do this? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36182076)

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

Re:Didn't Better Off Ted do this? (1)

JimTheta (115513) | more than 2 years ago | (#36182600)

As opposed to all the other networks that were beating down their door to put them on the air.

No, thanks! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181936)

"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?

photoshops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36181940)

can it tell when a celeb's face was pasted on a nude, and exclude those from the results? I only want genuine celeb nudes, nip slips and beaver shots.

Britney Spears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36182198)

Will Britney's vag have its own biometric profile?

Running Man! Its here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36182208)

Only took 24 years...

Ironic ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36182884)

... a burqa is now a device to protect your human rights. ('Cept in France, where it's illegal.)

How about something _useful_? (2)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#36183416)

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...

Re:How about something _useful_? (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 2 years ago | (#36184216)

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.

Re:How about something _useful_? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36187486)

It's on the works http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Goggles#Future_uses

Hollywood's Plastic surgery obsession? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36184244)

I wonder how well this handles that awfull lip-injection thing that all the Hollywood actresses are doing these days. Take Meg Ryan, for example - she used to look good, now she's just another huge-lipped clone of everyone elsee in Hollywood.

Botox, on the other hand, is a good way to freeze a stable image in a real-time environment...

Not patentable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36187890)

There is absolutely no way this could or should be patentable, but we live in the era of fictional governments so who knows.

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