Fixing WTFs: Detecting Image Matches caused by Watermarks, Timestamps, and Frames in Internet Photos
An increasing number of photos in Internet photo collections comes with watermarks, timestamps, or frames (in the following called WTFs) embedded in the image content. In image retrieval, such WTFs often cause false-positive matches. In image clustering, these false-positive matches can cause clusters of different buildings to be joined into one. This harms applications like landmark recognition or large-scale structure-from-motion, which rely on clean building clusters. We propose a simple, but highly effective detector for such false-positive matches. Given a matching image pair with an estimated homography, we first determine similar regions in both images. Exploiting the fact that WTFs typically appear near the border, we build a spatial histogram of the similar regions and apply a binary classifier to decide whether the match is due to a WTF. Based on a large-scale dataset of WTFs we collected from Internet photo collections, we show that our approach is general enough to recognize a large variety of watermarks, timestamps, and frames, and that it is efficient enough for largescale applications. In addition, we show that our method fixes the problems that WTFs cause in image clustering applications. The source code is publicly available and easy to integrate into existing retrieval and clustering systems.