Google Is Crowdsourcing Improvements For Its Photos App

Google Photos AH NS 03
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Google Photos wants its users to take some time to help train its algorithms. As reported by Android Police, this would make you the teacher in a 'Machine Learning class'.

This comes as Google Photos has spent the last few months looking for new features and innovations for the app. These have included the possibility of offering a new pop color filter. However, reports suggest that this will not be available to free users.

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Google Photos 5.18 also is on its way soon. Reports most recently confirmed that the app will bring with it a number of premium editing features. These would be available to Google One members and would negate the need for the use of a third-party app to edit photos.

Google Photos, uses algorithms for its facial recognition software. Now it looks like users could get the change to help Google improve this system.

Google Photos appeals to users to help with its algorithms

More than a year ago, the app started asking users simple "yes/no/not sure" questions to help refine its algorithms. This survey helped the company better utilize is facial recognition software as well as it face grouping features.

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More recently, the company has released a similar survey. This allows users to confirm whether certain pics correspond to the correct category as you scroll through them.

The app has now decided to go one step further by requesting your assistance in labelling your images from scratch. The work is free, unsurprisingly, however, the end result would see you and everyone else get a better product.

One of the underlying principles of Machine Learning is to have a properly-labelled training data set. This allows the algorithm to get built around this core set.

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Google is crowdsourcing the improvements

Basically, Google wants a load of images with say, a cactus in it. Therefore, Google can teach its system or recognize any other cactus image as a cactus. Ideally, the company wants lots of images from different angles and distances to best allow the algorithm to work.

As the screenshots above show the option to get involved has rolled out server-side. It is available a little card at the bottom of theĀ Search tab. Once you tap it and agree to help, Photos will surface images to you and a text box to ask to write down what is important in each image as shown below.

You can start off with ten photos then do another batch if you wish to continue. Users also have the option to stop the process altogether and skip images if they do not want to label any particular image.

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The app will also ask you if you want to try another question after you finish a batch. One set will ask you if pictures are print-worthy, another asks what animations and collages you are interested in. The final one asks whether pictures taken on a specific day are related to that day's known holiday or festivity.

Overall, it seems like an interesting approach from Google. The work is not too arduous so they will probably get plenty of offers from users. Whether the accuracy of work will be any good is another question though.