Lovey-dovey detection algorithm puts hearts on Google+ photos

Giving a Valentine's Day perk to its social network service, Google adds animated hearts to photos that show hugging and kissing.

For Valentine's Day, Google's auto-awesome photo automatic editing on Google+ adds animated hearts to photos with hugging and kissing.
For Valentine's Day, Google's auto-awesome photo automatic editing on Google+ adds animated hearts to photos with hugging and kissing. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

For Valentine's Day, Google is adding animated hearts to photos of hugging and kissing on Google+.

"Just upload a photo of kissing or hugging, and Google Photos will add hearts automatically," said Google+ photo team member Vincent Mo in a Google+ post Thursday night.

Another example of auto-awesome hearts on Google+.
Another example of auto-awesome hearts on Google+. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google already throws a lot of server horsepower at photos shared on its social network, automatically editing them for better tonality and smoother skin, but its "auto-awesome" technology also identifies subject matter deemed suitable for seasonal special effects. During the holidays, the company added snowflakes to snow scenes and sparkling to Christmas trees.

As with its earlier effects along these lines, Google does the detection and editing automatically, then leaves it to you to decide what to do with it.

"Share the photo with someone special, or keep it for your eyes only," said Erik Murphy-Chutorian, whose team added the feature.

The technology is clever -- but as snowflakes over desert scenes showed, it's also fallible. Feel free to share links in comments below to good examples or misfires.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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