Posted May 30, 2007 9:42 am by with 5 comments

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By Brittany Thompson

Modern technology appears to be taking the world’s leading search engine in a new direction that might allow Google to recognize facial features in images. Google Blogoscoped reported Monday that Google Images has added a few new features, which are only available by appending URL variables of current image searches. Such variables allow searchers to narrow searches to images of faces (people) or news-related images.

For example, a Google image search for the word “blog” brings up various logos, graphs, and images from blogs around the world. Adding the variable &imgtype=face to the end of the results page URL, however, brings up only images of people – many of whom are the actual bloggers themselves. Changing that end variable to &imgtype=news shows images from recent news features in the New York Times or the Washington Post, to name a few.

Google already examines file size and resolution to detect duplicate images. Additionally, the company openly encourages webmasters to use alt and title tags to accurately describe images for better search results. These new changes are apparently powered by Neven Vision, a facial recognition company that was purchased by Google back in August.

While completely visual image searches are probably still be a few years down the road, it does appear that Google is headed in that direction.

  • Brittany,
    I am happy to announce that Google has not associated my picture with my name, at least not yet! It still is a bit scary (big brother anyone) that Google can associate your face with your name. This combined with the fact that US courts have allowed potential employers the ability to use search engines, such as Google, to discriminate against you with the use of a browser and a search engine is a bit disheartening.

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  • This might have been a hit, oh, 1 years ago…

  • Brittany,
    Exalead launched this feature few weeks ago already as an integrated one, without having to add any string in the query field. You can test it on, we’d be happy to get your feedback on our blog. Cheers.