First reported on Android Police, Google is now prompting some users in the search bar of the Google Photos app to answer questions about their personal pictures in an effort to help train the machine learning algorithms that power it. The tool used to survey users is called Crowdsource and is an in-house Google-owned AI research tool.
Crowdsource is a fun, easy way for you to use your own abilities to contribute to the building blocks of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This helps us make the Google products that you love even better for your language, region and culture. Answers from you and millions of others around the world are used in Machine Learning based products, making them work well for the diversity of global population.Crowdsource by Google
In addition to asking you what’s in your photo – similar to how they began asking if two faces found in a picture were of the same person last year – they also ask if you’d enjoy a print version of it, hinting that they’re doing more work to improve their Premium Print subscription service that was recently re-launched. The photos from Android Police show the user being asked several times whether or not they include festivities like Cinco de Mayo as well, but we’re not yet sure if it’s related to any near future plans that Google has or if it’s just random.
What’s weird is that Google does not pay users to contribute their time or to donate their data to Crowdsource like they do with Google Opinion Rewards. Instead, they’re asked to do it simply for the betterment and future of Artificial intelligence. The whole process is very Googley and festive (Crowdsource itself features leaderboards and achievements for tasks), but I have a sneaking suspicion that many users will not be taken by its charm and will instead be thinking about how they hope Google Photos doesn’t one day completely end up behind a subscription paywall.
The update is a server-side switch, so there’s no telling when or if it will roll out to everyone, but it looks like the Crowdsource feature is a tip from a user that may be living in India (just as the recent Messages tips have been), given that ‘Uttarakhand’ can be seen in their search bar and refers to a state found there.