Google Photos tags dark-skinned people as gorillas, executive apologizes

The new Google Photos app comes with several bells and whistles that make it a go-to app for photo fans, such as unlimited free storage for high-resolution photos, automatic photo syncing, and an Auto Awesome feature that can automagically bring out the best from a photos. These are all nice features to have, but the most interesting component of Google Photos is the auto-tagging feature, one that aims to recognize the subjects in the photo, and tag them accordingly. Unfortunately, it turns out that Google Photos auto-tagging has a long way to go before becoming a reliable feature.

A Twitter user by the name of Jacky Alciné recently brought to Google's attention one of the most embarrassing bugs that can ever be imagined, as the Google Photos app auto-tagged photos of Alciné's dark-skinned girlfriend with the "Gorilla" tag. Yonathan Zunger, Chief Social Architect at Google, quickly reacted on Twitter when confronted with the bug that Alciné discovered, apologizing for the mistake and forwarding the issue to the Google Photos team.

In a series of replies on Twitter, Zunger announced that the team removed the "Gorilla" tag from the database, and then acknowledged that the facial-recognition feature still needs a lot of improvement. To make sure that no similarly-embarrassing bugs rear their head in the future, Zunger claims that the Google Photos team will steer away from potentially offensive tags in the future. According to Zunger, some users reported that blurred photos are showing up in search results, but a patch that fixes this particular will be released soon.

Did you encounter any similar problems with the Google Photos auto-tag feature? Drop us a comment and share the weirdest auto-tagging fluke that you've discovered so far!

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