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Google working on real-time background removal for YouTube videos

Google is working on a new technology that separates the foreground from the background in videos in real time, making it easy to change the backdrop to anything interesting.

For each image, Google’s researchers isolated facial features and hair as accurately as possible to help the network distinguish between foreground and background. For the moment, this feature is available only on the limited Beta “stories”. The effect isn’t nearly as accurate as true chroma-keying, but it’s relatively effective, convenient and ideal for short clips.

“Our immediate goal is to use the limited rollout in YouTube stories to test our technology on this first set of effects. As we improve and expand our segmentation technology to more labels, we plan to integrate it into Google’s broader Augmented Reality services.”  – Google

It is evident that Google is looking to advance into the Augmented Reality segment, which is quickly gaining popularity. This feature has been introduced for their “Stories” app, which is only available for mobile, and is currently in Beta. This app is rather similar to apps like Snapchat and Instagram, in terms of function.

Stories are 15-minute long videos and you’re given a choice of editing tools, adding stickers, text, filters and background music. The Real Time Mobile Video Segmentation will appear in its own tab, to switch out boring backdrops. All of these are almost exactly similar to the above mentioned apps.

With exception of the 15-minute length restriction, YouTube seems to have borrowed the filters, stickers and several other features from these apps. Snapchat have also entered the AR game with their brand new filters. At the end of the day, the question is, is YouTube trying to be one of the trendy social media apps ?

Google has not mentioned when this feature will be available to the public.


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