Over the past couple of years, YouTube has been adding video enhancement functionality to its upload tool such as the ability to include comments or block out portions of a video. Now, the company has created a face blurring tool that can automatically blur out the faces of each person in your uploaded YouTube video. If your amateur video identifies political dissidents who might get hassled by the law, or the faces of young children you’d rather not plaster all over the Internet, the YouTube face blur tool will automatically blur out the faces of everyone appearing in the video, while leaving all the other recognizable action intact.
You say you don’t shoot human rights videos and have no need to shield your friends’ identities? That may be, but not everyone in the world has that luxury. With the face blurring tool, citizens in repressed nations can publicize protests and crackdowns without the fear of protesters or victims being persecuted for their on-camera behavior.
“Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube,” the company commented in a blog post announcing the YouTube face blurring tool. Now when you upload a video to YouTube, you will see a “Blur All Faces” button in the Video Enhancements dashboard. Click that button and each face in the video should be unrecognizably blurred.
Face blurring on YouTube still has a few technical bugs. There is no option to blur individual faces, all faces will be blurred. Sometimes lighting and physical obstructions will prevent face blurring. Just because the face is blurred, the company hasn’t included anything to alter voice quality, so law enforcement can still identify individuals based on spoken names and voice analysis.
HULU REDESIGNS ITS VIDEO PLAYER
Watch any TV shows on Hulu recently? If you have, you may have noticed the new Hulu video player with some minor changes designed to deliver major TV-on-the-Internet convenience. The streaming video site says its new Hulu video player is a “sleeker, chromeless and friendlier interface.”
Most notably, all of the controls on the revamped Hulu video player are smaller and easier to make disappear – facilitating a better view of the video screen at all times. Perhaps the handiest new button is the 10 Second Rewind – an option for automatically rewinding a broadcast by ten seconds, perfect for replaying a particularly hilarious “Saturday Night Live” punch line or figuring out what dialogue Dr. House has just mumbled.
The upgrades don’t stop there. When you pause your show on the new Hulu video player, the screen displays how many minutes are left in the episode being watched. You can now control closed captioning, resolution, and second screen settings by just hovering the mouse over the control bar. Once you’re finished watching an episode, the Autoplay feature will start up the next consecutive episode (a feature already available in Netfix). Unfortunately, Hulu did not deliver the changes that users really want – fewer and shorter commercial breaks.
DIRECTV AND VIACOM END DISPUTE, PUT SHOWS BACK ON WEB
For people who like watching TV shows on the Internet, July was a tough month. Several popular Comedy Central shows that are available for free on the web – “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “South Park,” and more – all disappeared from the Internet for nearly two weeks and it wasn’t even during the Olympics. They were yanked off the web because of an ongoing dispute between Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom, who also owns the popular cable networks MTV and Nickelodeon, and the satellite television provider DirecTV.
What is the DirecTV Viacom issue? Viacom did not feel DirecTV was paying enough money for the 26 Viacom channels aired over the satellite TV service, so they blacked their channels out for DirecTV subscribers. DirecTV responded by pointing out the obvious – that viewers could simply watch these shows online for free. At which point, Viacom promptly pulled all their shows off the web. The two companies reached an agreement – Viacom had wanted an extra $1 billion a year, DirecTV agreed to pay a little more than half that much. Fortunately, the shows are now back online.
Were you just dying without your “Daily Show” and “South Park” fixes? How do you feel about the new Hulu? Would you use the YouTube face blurring tool? Sound off in the comments below, where faces are never blurred because we offer cool avatars instead.