Who’s that actor? Google Play movies can now tell you who’s on screen


We’ve all been there: sitting around with a couple of friends, watching a movie, and an actor comes onto the screen, and you just know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you have seen this actor before. But you can’t figure out where, and you certainly can’t remember their real name. You raise the question to the rest of the group, and whether it’s because you asking gave them a mental block, or they just don’t know, you sit there trying to figure it out until someone finally pulls up IMDB and digs through the cast list.

Sure, looking it up on IMDB may not be the most taxing of tasks, but how much better would it be if all you had to do was hit pause? According to Google’s official Android blog, the Google Play store will soon have such functionality.

The feature, which (for now) will only be made available on Android tablets, takes advantage of the company’s Knowledge Graph. While the software traditionally grabs information from metadata, this new feature will actually utilize facial recognition technology to figure out who each actor is. (Think: when you drop a photo into Google search and it pulls up all images in its database with a likeness, including people.)

Once you pause, all you have to do is tap on a person’s face; a circle will be drawn around it (so you know you’ve tapped the right person, if you happened to pause on a crowded scene), and on the right, two tiles will appear. The top will be a headshot of the actor, with some basic information (name, age, place of birth). The bottom will be a list of the actor’s filmography.

For its launch, the app will only work in the U.S. on devices running Android 4.0 and higher, and work with hundreds of movies. It promises to add more every day, and to eventually branch out to other countries and devices.