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[caption id="attachment_103740" align="aligncenter" width="701"]A man is seen as a silhouette as he checks a mobile device whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing YouTube Inc.s logo in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. YouTube Inc. provides consumer media and entertainment through its website. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images A man is seen as a silhouette as he checks a mobile device whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing YouTube Inc.s logo in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. YouTube Inc. provides consumer media and entertainment through its website. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images[/caption]

YouTube has added a new tool to allow users to blur or mask any moving objects in a video before uploading them. The video streaming and sharing site announced on 25 February that its new Custom Blurring tool will be available for users on desktops.

YouTube privacy head Amanda Conway wrote in a blog post, "While the use cases for this tool are vast, we built this feature with visual anonymity in mind. We wanted to give you a simple way to blur things like people, contact information or financial data without having to remove and re-upload your content."

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The new feature lets users draw a box to cover the area in a video that they wish to blur out. It has been designed in such a way that users can specify for how long an object or person needs to be blurred by mentioning a start and end time. The blur box can also be re-sized as a video progresses. A lock button has also been added to keep the blur box stationary on the screen, ensuring that the masked object remains inscrutable throughout the video.

YouTube will always render a preview of the blurred video, so if something didn’t work quite right, you can always try again by placing the rectangle in a slightly different spot.

Google says it is using “new innovative technology” for this tool that allows it to analyze videos to track objects “on the fly.” It’s a fair guess that the recent advances in machine vision have made this kind of tool possible now. We haven’t been able to put this new feature through its paces yet, though, so it remains to be seen how well it works in practices.

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