Facebook photos just got smarter with new ‘autotags’ for easier searches

facebook journalism grants login smartphone
Facebook’s auto tagging feature was already impressive — but now the social media network will recognize that the photo you just uploaded is at the Golden Gate Bridge, that you’re wearing a black shirt, and whether or not you are walking, dancing, or perhaps riding a horse.

Today, Joaquin Candela, the network’s director of applied machine learning, shared a blog post detailing how Facebook can now recognize not just the objects in your photographs, but scenes and actions, too, even on posts shared without a single word.

Lumos is the artificially intelligent program that allows the computer to “see” what’s inside the image you just shared, even if you didn’t give it any sort of text description. That machine learning system is behind a number of Facebook’s image-recognition features, from flagging nudity to fighting spam.

Today, that system is getting an upgrade with the ability to recognize actions, not just objects. The network’s automatic alt text, used for describing a photo to the visually impaired, will now recognize 12 different actions, from walking and dancing to actions that can be described by a verb with a noun tacked at the end — like riding a horse or playing an instrument.

While the program stemmed from, and still continues to work toward, giving the visually impaired a better idea of what’s in their newsfeed, the same technology will now allow any Facebook user to search for an image of a particular place, action, or even a particular garment like a black shirt or red dress. While photos with a description may have popped up in the search results previously, the new action-tagging gives the search more accuracy even for photos that were uploaded without any relevant text.

Lumos is a machine learning program, which means that the more photos it labels and the more details the team feeds it, the more accurate those photo labels become. Facebook’s machine learning team taught the program to recognize actions by asking humans to label 130,000 actual Facebook photos. Feeding those descriptions into the machine learning program “taught” the system how to identify actions.

Searching for a particular object or action and then clicking on the “photos” tab in the search results will now display relevant searches from your own newsfeed as well as friends and public images, using the images tagged with the machine learning, not just accompanying captions.

Candela says that the idea will also advance into automatically labeling videos in the future. “While these new developments are noteworthy, we have a long and exciting road ahead and are just scratching the surface of what is possible with a self-serve computer vision platform,” he wrote. “With computer vision models getting pixel perfect and Facebook advancing into video and other immersive formats, Lumos will help unlock new possibilities in a reliable, fast, and scaleable way and pave the road for richer product experiences in the near future.”

Social Media

Twitter wants you to help shape the future design of its app

Twitter is launching an app for testing new design features and it wants you to get involved. Those accepted into the program will have the chance to try out different conversation designs aimed at improving the user experience.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

How to connect your Xbox 360 controller to a PC quickly and easily

If you've tired of using a typical keyboard and mouse while PC gaming, we've put together a guide to teach you how to connect an Xbox 360 controller to a PC. Whether wired or wireless, DT's got you covered.
Mobile

How to use Samsung's Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.
Emerging Tech

Professional drone racing is flying onto Twitter this summer

Professional drone racing is coming to Twitter for the first time this summer. Organizers hope the streaming deal with the social media platform will help the growing sport to further broaden its audience.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.