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Microsoft’s corporate messenger has learned to blur the background during video calls


Microsoft introduced new functions of the Messenger Messenger, one of which allows you to automatically blur the background of a person in the image from a webcam. The function will be available to users until the end of the year, according to Microsoft.

Video communication allows you not only to hear, but also to observe the interlocutor. However, since in addition to the interlocutor in the image from the camera, you can see the surrounding environment, it may not always be convenient to use video communication. For example, because of this for working video calls, it is necessary to select a room with a neutral background and without strangers (for example, you can recall the story with Professor Robert Kelly, to whom the children entered the room during a conversation with the BBC).

Microsoft has added a function to its corporate messenger Teams, which removes this need by automatically blurring the image around the person in the frame. The developers note that the algorithm uses the definition of faces in the frame, but do not disclose the technical details of the implementation of this function. Apparently it works thanks to the semantic segmentation of frames per person and background, after which the resulting background is processed using a Gaussian blur or other method. By default, the function will be disabled and must be enabled manually from the drop-down menu.

In addition to blurring the background in the messenger also added the function of recording video calls. In addition to the recording itself, the program will automatically recognize the speech on the video and display it in the form of subtitles, and also form the decoding of the entire video call with the search function and time marking for phrases. Both functions will be available to users of Teams, as well as other Microsoft corporate services, such as Yammer and Stream, at the end of the year.

In the spring, Google introduced an algorithm capable of real-time replacing the background on video recordings. At the same time, it can work on smartphones and does not require a green background for the user. The company applied the algorithm to YouTube, allowing users to impose different backgrounds when shooting a video for a section of stories.

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