Google taps Knowledge Graph and facial recognition to build its own X-Ray for Play Movies

Google taps Knowledge Graph and facial recognition to build its own X-Ray for Play Movies

Google is testing a slick new feature for its Google Play Movies & TV app on Android tablets that automaticallys pull up info cards about on-screen actors and in-movie music.

The feature is currently US-only and limited to tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but Google says it hopes to expand info cards to “more countries and devices soon”.

The info cards pop up when eligible viewers press the pause button. Users can tap on individual actors’ faces to get more information, such as age and which other movies the performer has starred in. It’s a minor feature, but it’ll save me the trouble of having to hit up IMDB when an actor looks familiar and I can’t quite place him or her. Support for songs is also a nice touch, since it’s not always easy to find that information.


Other changes to the app include improvements to the search function, notifications for new TV shows and a “refresh” option for checking for updates to the library. Google on Wednesday also added India and Mexico to its list of countries that support Google Play Movies.

Google’s implementation will draw some comparisons to Amazon’s own X-Ray service, which recently came to TV shows on Instant Video. Currently, info cards are only supported for “hundreds of movies”, but Google should have no trouble building out the data base since its Knowledge Graph, which launched last year, has hundreds of millions of connections.

As I wrote last week, I’m not fully comfortable with how Google’s core search engine is evolving, but these new info cards are an excellent example of how Google is putting its graph to use to make life a little easier for us.

➤ Google Play Movies & TV

Headline image credit: iStockphoto

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