Apple recently introduced an updated iPhoto application that will search your photos to identify people in them whose faces match the initial photo you tag. It’s called “Facial Recognition Technology”, and now an Israeli firm has taken this technology one step further by applying it to all the images found on Facebook.
It’s called “Photo Tagger“, and it relies on this new technology to automatically identify and tag faces within the million of photos found on Facebook. It puts the photos into groups and suggests tags for you. Then, following privacy settings, the confirmed tags are pushed directly onto Facebook, returning to the user an album of tagged photos.
Facial recognition has some detractors who are concerned about “big brother” and other privacy issues. In fact, Coca-Cola recently tried to use a similar technology in a marketing promotion. Their “Coke Zero Facial Profiler” application on Facebook invited users to upload their photos to a database that would match people’s faces for them. The campaign aimed to emphasize that the no-calorie Coke Zero tastes just like the real thing, but reports say some consumers were more annoyed than engaged, and were rather vocal about it.
In addition to making tagging faster and more streamlined, Photo Tagger also utilizes the Face Alerts system that could help with any misunderstanding. Instead of only getting a notification when you are tagged in a photograph by a Facebook user, Face Alerts identifies individuals even untagged photos. You can then link to those photos and confirm its authenticity or untag the image if you desire.
What do you think? Is Facial Recognition Technology a good thing? Will it eventually make its way to videos? While my first reaction is that this is a good thing, simply because it helps us do our jobs faster and better, I fear mistakes in the online world. I get uncomfortable when I hear that someone has mistaken me for someone else, and that’s to my face. Seeing my name tagged onto someone else’s photo would be troublesome — especially if the photo is one that ends up in those chain emails that everyone laughs about.