Now you can blur faces on your risky YouTube videos


(CNET) Sometimes, privacy is utterly necessary. It's even a good thing.

This is something even Google is recognizing. Today, for example, the company launched a new feature to help users feel more comfortable posting videos to YouTube.

The search giant is now offering the ability to blur faces on YouTube videos with just one click.

YouTube policy associate, Amanda Conway explained in  blog post that the site has become a significant source for news. Blurring, she says, is useful (though it didn't seem to be for the longest time on Google Street View.)

She writes:

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.

This first step is simple. You go to the YouTube Video Enhancements page, wander over to Additional Features and there you will see something that says "Blur All Faces."

Click on "Apply" and you're done.

Some might notice an imperfection or two here. If, for example, you're posting protest video, you might want to hide the faces of the activists, but reveal the faces of, say, brutal policemen. That doesn't seem yet possible.

As Conway herself points out, the technology is very new and therefore not perfect. It may not, in fact, be able to blur all the faces, as certain camera angles or video quality might affect its ability.

It is up to you to check the preview and see if you're happy with the obfuscation before posting it to the world.

I wonder if this excellent new technology will increase the number of fascinating, amusing and even newsworthy videos posted to the site.

Will people feel more confident that they can expose certain events, now that they don't have to reveal the identities of those involved?

Or will there also be a temptation on the part of some to pump out videos that are entirely fake, their fakeness made easier to conceal by the fact that faces are blurred?

This article originally appeared on CNET under the headline "Now you can blur faces on your risky YouTube videos."

  • Chris Matyszczyk

    Chris has been a multi award-winning executive creative director with some of the most celebrated advertising agencies in the world. His creative work has been recognized at the Cannes Advertising Festival, the New York Festivals, Clio, the One Show, as well as many other festivals around the world. His writing has appeared in such publications as the Financial Times, the European, the Sacramento Bee and The Singapore Press Holdings Group.

    He currently advises major global companies about content creation and marketing, through his company Howard Raucous LLC.

    He brings an irreverent, sarcastic, and sometimes ironic voice to the tech world.