After tripping everyone out with its Deep Dream experiments Google have now developed a neural network (a type of artificial intelligence modeled on the human brain) called PlaNet, which can guess the location of where a photo was taken, by analysing the pixels, more accurately and quicker than a human can.
Not only that but the more pictures it sees the more it learns, unlike current image location software. The system was pitted against humans using the GeoGuessr website. 10 people who consider themselves well-traveled were pitted against PlaNet and had to guess the location of a Google Streetview image. PlaNet won 28 of 50 rounds.
"We think PlaNet has an advantage over humans because it has seen many more places than any human can ever visit and has learned subtle cues of different scenes that are even hard for a well-traveled human to distinguish," the project's leader Tobias Weyand told MIT Technology Review.
PlaNet doesn't name a location though, but rather locates it via a grid system. Weyand and his team divided the world into a grid of over 26,000 squares of differing sizes depending on how many images were taken in that location. So big cities have a finer grid structure while regions where fewer photos were taken have less, and very remote places like oceans and polar areas were ignored completely with no grids at all.
The team then created a database of 126 million geolocated images from the web and used the location data to find the grid square of where the photo was taken.
"Weyand and co used 91 million of these images to teach a powerful neural network to work out the grid location using only the image itself." explains MIT Technology Review. "Their idea is to input an image into this neural net and get as the output a particular grid location or a set of likely candidates."
The model Weyand and his group used only uses 377 MB of memory, so one day we may be able to carry the power of PlaNet around on our smartphones.
Which means you'll never be able to lie about where you went on holiday again, because PlaNet will rat you out.