Just in time for the holidays, Google+ has thrown the switch on facial recognition for photo tagging. Now, you won’t have to spend hours identifying all those relatives who you won’t see again until next year — Google+ will do it for you.
Matt Steiner, the engineering lead on Google+ photos, announced the new feature a few days ago on his wall. They call the tool ‘Find My Face,’ which is both childlike and creepy. Like a game of Where’s Waldo, only you’re Waldo.
It’s an opt-in program that you switch on and off from your profile settings. Even after you turn it on, the tool still asks for your approval before it tags photos with your name. So, yes, you can avoid being associated with the karaoke crew at the office Christmas party.
Facial recognition isn’t a new toy. Facebook tried it and got in hot water over privacy concerns. Apparently, Google+ isn’t worried but many of the commenters on Steiner’s post are. It’s the usual suspects — governments using Find My Face to pick out rebels, law enforcement using it to hunt fugitives and the worst of all. . . marketers using it to advertise!
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Certainly, facial recognition software could be used to help target advertising based on gender, age and maybe even race, but is it likely to become mainstream? TechNewsWorld says, probably not.
“It’s doubtful the ad industry is interested in taking the technology further anytime soon. . . For starters, there is the issue of privacy. Then there is the fact that marketing and advertising budgets have been trimmed lean, and there is not much room for experimental technologies.”
The article goes on to state that facial recognition will be used in some up-coming Android mobile apps. It’s also being looked at as means of identification for online, financial transactions.
At the moment, Find My Face on Google+ is a fun gadget that people can use to annoy their friends and make themselves feel more popular.
Personally, I’m still waiting for TVs with facial recognition tied to IMDB, so I can identify all the actors in the show I’m watching. Now that, would be great use of the technology.
What are your thoughts on Find My Face? Will you be turning it on? Leaving it off? Or should it be removed completely?