This post is part of our series on using photos on blogs:
- The first post was about where to get free photos for your blog.
- Next, we talked about stock photography and why we decided to go with Big Stock Photo for this site.
- We also talked about how critical thinking images is an important media literacy skill that students need to develop. Just because a website or an advertisement shows happy people, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those people use the product mentioned on the website. (Heck, our site talks about Dragon NaturallySpeaking and shows images of children using headsets and laptops but our photos come from Big Stock Photo. For privacy reasons, they’re not students that we personally work with.)
Today will be talking about some internet tools that you can use to figure out who is that girl / person. That way, you can figure out whether the images used on a website are paid models, or real people. Teachers can find their own examples of websites that use stock photography (to teach critical thinking skills when viewing images on websites.)
- Using Google Goggles to figure out who is that girl / guy / person
- Using Google Image Search to figure out who is that girl / guy / person.
- What about student/teacher privacy? Who is that girl? Can you search people based on a photo of them?
This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice-recognition software.
Who is that girl / guy / person?
Students need to think critically about the images they see online. Although older students might talk about cyber safety, critical thinking images that we see online is an important media literacy skill.
A picture is worth 1000 words and science documentaries, medical websites, political websites, and educational websites may use stock photography (i.e. paid models) to get their point across.
Here are two online Google tools…
Google Goggles is a very cool feature that lets you take a photo with your smart phone and search Google based on that image.
Download the Google Search – Google iPad / iPhone app (or android app) and all of a sudden you can snap photos of people in ads, billboards, or posters and you can see if that image is a stock photo. (If the exact same photo shows up on a million websites or in a photo agency website, then chances are, these people are paid models.)
- Google Goggles lets you take pictures of DVDs, barcodes and products to get more information about stuff before you buy.
- You can take pictures of landmarks to get tourist information.
- You can take pictures of text in a different language in Google Goggles will translate it for you.
- Heck, you can even take pictures of the sudoku puzzle and Google Goggles will solve it for you. (Check out the YouTube video of a Google employee versus a sudoku master.)
Google now lets you search based on an image.
- What makes it incredibly easy to use is that you can drag and drop an image from a website or from your computer into the Google search box.
- This means that if you’re wondering who is that girl / guy / person on a website, just open Google search in another window and click and drag the photo into it.
- Right away, you can see if this is a stock photo. (In other words, if there are five different dentistry websites showing the exact same photo of smiling happy teenagers, then chances are, these are paid models.)
What about student/teacher privacy? Who is that girl? Can you search people based on a photo of them?
You can use Google image search or Google Goggles to look up stock photos, because Google is looking for that identical photo online. . It won’t, however, find other photos with the same model. (You can also use Google image search to find people impersonating you if they’re using the exact same profile picture as you.)
Now that you can start a Google search using an image, it raises some very creepy questions about privacy and stocking.
- For example, it can be relatively easy for students to get a photo of another student (or teacher) at school (i.e. from their Facebook page, the yearbook, class photos, or just by snapping a pic on their cell phone.) Could students use Google image search or Google Goggles to be able to look up everything on the internet about that person?
- Or, a real-world example for you non-teachers out there… What happens when a complete stranger snaps your photo at a coffee shop or bar? Could a stranger instantly look up everything there is to know about you (without even knowing your name?)
The answer, right now, is no.
But the technology exists. CBC ran an article in July 2011 about Google Face recognition and privacy concerns: Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google said that Google had “developed facial recognition software as part of its Google Goggles product, but withheld the technology because of privacy concerns.”
Even creepier, this technology could all be working in the background. A few months ago, the latest version of Google Goggles came out for android powered phones. If you opt in, Google Goggles can automatically search the images from your camera, and display search results.
Now the administrator in the Google Mobile blog said on September 15, 2011 that Google Goggles doesn’t do facial recognition – Google Goggles would only find people with similar hair color, but it wouldn’t recognize the person or associate a name with the person in the photo. But we know that the facial recognition technology exists.
Food for thought.
Photo Credit: Big Stock Photo – image-13618826/stock-photo-group-of-people-cycling-in-a-gym
This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium Wireless. What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking?