Google Cloud’s AI can now recognize celebrities — for customers that meet the eligibility requirements, at least. The tech giant today debuted Celebrity Recognition for its Cloud Vision and Video Intelligence products, a tool that can recognize an “international roster” of popular actors and athletes.
The preloaded AI model is able to spot “thousands” of figures from around the world, based on licensed images. (In its updated terms of service, Google defines celebrities as “individuals whose primary profession involves voluntarily being the subject of public media attention.”)
“The streaming era has brought about an explosion of video content … There’s just one problem: video is all but unsearchable without an expensive, labor-intensive tagging process. This makes it difficult for creators and platforms to organize their content, cater to the increasing demand for personalized experiences, or even fully understand the contents of their catalogs,” wrote product managers Parker Barnes and Andrew Schwartz. “[With Celebrity Recognition,] customers can now search professionally-produced content for celebrities.”
Google says it took a “thoughtful” approach before launching Celebrity Recognition in limited availability, which is only available to media and entertainment customers or partners who must pass a manual review. It worked with the nonprofit organization Business for Social Responsibility to conduct an assessment of the tech’s potential impact on human rights, using the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as a framework.
Informed by this, Google notes that it’s restricted Celebrity Recognition’s use to “professionally-produced” video content like movies, TV shows, and sporting events. Customers can’t add people to the list even for private use, and celebrities who don’t wish to be recognized can opt out.
“We know the landscape is evolving fast, with skyrocketing demand for personalized, searchable video experiences putting unique pressures on industries like sports and entertainment,” wrote Barnes and Schwartz. “With [Celebrity Recognition], we’re helping our customers thrive in an era of change.”
With the rollout of Celebrity Recognition, Google joins Amazon, which offers celebrity detection as a part of its Rekognition computer vision service. Amazon only allows customers to use celebrity detection in cases where a known celebrity is expected to appear in an image or a video, but it doesn’t require those customers to pass a review. Microsoft claims the computer vision component of its generally available Azure Cognitive Services can recognize 1 million celebrities from business, politics, sports, and entertainment. As for IBM, it previously offered celebrity detection in Watson Visual Recognition, but it retired the model in April 2018 “as part of [a] broader effort to provide more robust capabilities around face imaging.”
Google previously brought celebrity detection to Google Lens, its AI-powered search and computer vision tool on smartphones and the mobile web.