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YouTube Launches Feature to Blur Faces in Videos

Google’s YouTube has launched a feature to allow people to automatically blur faces that appear in videos.  The technology could, literally, be a life saver for activists in some parts of the world who could suffer serious repercussions if they were identified in videos.

The feature can’t be used to just obscure some faces. It attempts to recognize and blur all faces in the video.

In this test it obscured one face but not others (video and screen shot by Larry Magid)

Google warns that it’s not 100% reliable.  In a blog post, they refer to it as “emerging technology” and admit that “it sometimes has difficulty detecting faces depending on the angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality” and that it’s possible that some faces might not be blurred.

When I tested the feature on one video it obscured one face in the video but not others.

But even if you do blur all the faces, you need to pay attention to what people are wearing, where they are and what’s in the background that could possibly identify them.

In addition to activists, the technology could be used by parents who want to post video of their kids — perhaps playing soccer, but don’t want the kids to be recognized.  Or maybe some adults might want to use it on party videos where you want to share something funny that happened but not identify those hysterical people in the video.

To use the feature, select the video you want to edit, click on Enchantments and then Additional Features.

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