Facebook’s Facial Recognition Technology

The popular social networking site, Facebook, is unveiling new facial recognition technology that they are integrating with Facebook Photos. They announced this coincidentally the same day that their founder, Mark Zuckerberg was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

This feature, known as Tag Suggestions, will group faces together when uploading photos, and automatically suggest the friend they should be tagged with. Tag Suggestions has been made available to a limited amount of users, but it will be released to the entire Facebook community in the coming weeks.

Similar technology has already been implemented in Apple’s iPhoto software, as well as Google’s Picasa. However, the search for similar faces is limited to the user’s own photos that they have uploaded themselves; it would not search anyone else’s pictures. Since Tag Suggestions searches a user’s friends’ photos, questions about privacy have come up in the Facebook community.

As with every Facebook update, users have complained about the privacy issues regarding this technology. However, like many of the site’s features, it can be turned off if the user adjusts their privacy settings accordingly.

Also, Tag Suggestions would only search a user’s friends’ photos for comparisons, and the person uploading the pictures would have to confirm the tags. Facebook would not tag the photos automatically. Furthermore, if a user does not wish to be tagged in a certain picture, they may untag themselves. Would you use this feature, or are you planning to opt out?

It will be interesting to see just how accurate the algorithms are at identifying faces. Are you one of the select members that have been able to test out this feature? Did you find it to be useful and accurate?

Are you a fan of Dr. Matsumoto’s Facebook Page and Humintell’s Facebook Page?

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