Google’s new photo app introduced in May has rubbed many users the wrong way with a defective auto-tag system.
After the app tagged two Black users “gorillas,” Google has been in a mad dash to make things right. This is how Twitter user Jacky Alcine responded to the app:
Google Photos, y’all f*cked up. My friend’s not a gorilla. pic.twitter.com/SMkMCsNVX4
— diri noir avec banan (@jackyalcine) June 29, 2015
Yonatan Zunger, the chief architect of social at Google, contacted the young lady thanking her for addressing the issue and pointing out the problem. “Zunger says that Google has had similar issues with facial recognition due to inadequate analysis of skin tones and lighting, ” reports Loren Grush for The Verge.
However, this racist use of labels has been a problem in other Google products like Google Maps.
@jackyalcine Holy f*ck. G+ CA here. No, this is not how you determine someone’s target market. This is 100% Not OK.
— Yonatan Zunger (@yonatanzunger) June 29, 2015
“Earlier this year, searches for ‘ni**er house’ globally and searches for ‘ni**er king’ in Washington, D.C. turned up results for the White House, the residence of U.S. President Barack Obama. Both at that time and earlier this week, Google apologized and said that it was working to fix the issue,” according to Jana Kasperkevic for The Guardian.
As the issue of race becomes a dominant issue to the public, technology should not be part of the discussions and debates.
At this moment the “gorilla” label has been removed from the app.