I usually give any and all social media platforms a hard time for essentially “copying” the competition. But not today, my friends. Today I am in a relatively good mood, which means that I am going to praise Snapchat for a feature that they have been slowly rolling out. They are expected to unveil a major revamp early next month, so we will have to wait for what that could look like. In the meantime, however, they are gradually rolling out a feature that recognizes the content in your photos. Are you all celebrating? Maybe I’m a bit too excited about this, but I am a huge fan of this use of machine learning or AI. Why? Because it allows me to be lazy.
Let me explain a bit. I love when I take a picture of my nephew, and my phone recognizes his face. It makes it easier for me to search for photos of him on my phone. Google Photos does this for me as well. And while this particular update isn’t necessarily going to have the same impact for me (in terms of my laziness), but it is going to help you select borders and filters. Because of this technology, “the filters will automatically appear in the user’s carousel of filters after they take a photo snap of something within a certain set of categories. These include items at concerts, beaches, pets, sports, and food.”
While it’s not perfect, it’s at least heading in the right direction. When I say it’s not perfect, it doesn’t necessarily recognize things – like faces. But maybe that’s ok? The image recognization is meant to be used when you are taking pictures of real objects and animals. Image processing takes place locally on your iPhone, and they intend to continuously improve the feature with better accuracy and quality of the recommendations as more people use it. This is what machine learning is all about. It needs to see images over and over again, in order to be able to recognize them. Once it’s seen a sandwich 10 times (in theory), it will be able to recognize a sandwich from now on.
The other neat thing about this feature is that if you take a picture of your dog, for example, the technology will then recommend a dog filter for you. There is a thought that this is part of some kind of marketing strategy, so it’s possible that your dog picture will also either be related to specific ads. Or you’re going to see pet-related advertisements start to pop up in your internet surfing.
All in all, this is actually pretty cool. Maybe it is the good mood that I’m in? Or maybe because it’s a “new” thing. I was ragging on Facebook for this the other day. Instead of giving us new features, they end up copying other platforms. Which, on one hand, makes sense, but on the other hand, it enrages me a bit. That being said, regardless of what a social network comes up with, I think I’d be on board with it if it’s unique. Or a variation of something else that has been done, but in a better way. We don’t see nearly enough of that, so I am quite pleased with this update. Which means I’m super excited to see what they have in store for us next month.