Google said it is “appalled” its new Photos service mistakenly tagged two black friends as gorillas.
Photos – which was announced back in May – automatically groups and categorises images using tags assigned by Google’s artificial intelligence software.
However, New York computer programmer Jacky Alcine this week noticed photographs of him and his friend had been grouped into an album entitled “Gorillas” within the Photos app.
The New Yorker quickly took to Twitter to point out the software’s racist mistake.
“Google Photos, y’all f***** up,” he tweeted “My friend’s not a gorilla.”
Chief social architect for Google Yonatan Zunger was quick to respond on the social network.
“This is 100% not OK,” he acknowledged on Twitter.
Google has since removed the tag from the app, which is available on Apple’s iOS, Android and online at photos.google.com.
Mr Zunger then added he was “working on longer-term fixes around both linguistics – words to be careful about in photos of people – and image recognition itself – e.g. better recognition of dark-skinned faces”.
A Google statement added: “We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened.
“We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing.
“There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labelling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future.”