A new app promises no more laborious manual tagging of people in photos on Facebook.
Face.com is a startup that has just announced a Facebook application called Photo Finder which is capable of identifying the faces of you and your contacts on the wildly popular social networking website, Facebook.
The software, which is currently in alpha testing, operates by analysing photos uploaded by your Facebook friends. It then suggests tags for faces that it recognises based on other faces you've already tagged.
As the software identifies photos and individuals over time (and it apparently does take a while for the Face.com website to go through all your contacts' photos) you are able to deny or approve the tags it suggests.
Face.com is based in Israel and unlike many face recognition technologies, they claim to have developed their algorithms from the ground up rather than simply using existing technology. TechCrunch has some screenshots
of the service in action. You can keep up with the Face.com guys' developments at their blog
Privacy concerns are often raised about face recognition technology, especially when implemented in online sites. People have understandable concerns about embarrassing photos of them being identified and tagged, with many people feeling they don't have full control over images of themselves any more.
Face.com says it is well aware of these concerns, and at this stage, it is not saving tags back into Facebook photos -- you can only view the tags via its Face.com website or the Face.com widget in your profile.
Also, when you get tagged by Face.com in a photo, it emails you to request your approval of the tag, after which you can either approve it or hide it.
Other companies are quickly getting on board with face recognition, as it has the potential to make organising photos much easier, especially when combined with GPS positioning information about where a photo was taken.
Google recently added face recognition
to its Picasa Web online photo album service, and Apple was the first
company to release mainstream desktop software with face recognition
built in as part of its iPhoto 09 upgrade
. Microsoft has added face recognition to the Windows Live Photo Gallery
, which is a free download for Windows users.With additional reporting by Dan Warne