Google facial recognition app

Update 3/31 12h54pm PT: Google has  confirmed to us that it was not going to release any app with a facial recognition future, as it would create user privacy issues. It’s possible that Google has talked to CNN about *theoretical* implications of such technology, but somehow, CNN’s story made it sound like an app was coming out. See the extract:


“Google plans to introduce a mobile application that would allow users to snap pictures of people’s faces in order to access their personal information, a director for the project said this week”. (CNN)

Update 3/31 19h27pm PT: CNN has contacted us to say that the company stands by its story, and has an audio recording of the interview with Google to support its position.

“Google’s claims do not fit the facts of the situation. This interview was prearranged – on the record – and staffed by a Google PR rep, who raised no objections at the time and did not deny what the engineer said. Additionally, we have an audio recording of the interview, as does Google. We stand firmly behind Mark’s reporting.” (CNN Spokesperson)

Our original post, pre-update: Google has announced that they are going to release a smartphone app that can be used to identify faces in photos. All users do is snap a picture of a person, and Google will search through its database to identify a person just like how its current app, Google Goggles works for objects. While we all know that having your photo of you recognized online is an issue of privacy, Google has mentioned that for people to become “searchable”, they will have to agree to be identifiable by the software by agreeing to let Google have permission to access their pictures or profile information. Now all this technology is great, but is there really a point to having the ability to search for someone using their face? If the person in question is your friend, you would know who he/she is and have access to their pictures and information, if the person is a celebrity, you would know his/her name to do a regular search, and if it’s someone you don’t know, wouldn’t it be bordering on stalking to look up that person? What are your thoughts on such an app?

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