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Google Discussing Facial Recognition Technology

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said if the company were ever to implement facial recognition technology, they would have to be extremely careful about it.

The Financial Times reports that recent criticisms of Google's privacy policies have forced managers within the search company to reconsider procedures as well as the decision to launch facial recognition software. The idea is said to be the subject of one of the biggest internal debates at the moment and the CEO Eric Schmidt says that any decision regarding facial recognition software would have to be well thought out and discussed at great length.

"Facial recognition is a good example . . . anything we did in that area would be highly, highly planned, discussed and reviewed," FT quotes Schmidt as saying. "When you go through these things, you review your management procedures."

However, Schmidt didn't rule out the possibility, saying, "It is important that we continue to innovate."

Though already present in Google's photo sharing site Picasa, facial recognition technology is not something the company has implemented across other products. Faces in Google Maps are blurred out and though some people go out of their way to be seen by the Google Street View team, others are no where near as happy to be photographed.

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  • 12 Hide
    urlsen , May 22, 2010 8:41 AM
    incorporated with googlemaps...cctv and big brother..we got the beginning of skynet
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , May 22, 2010 7:33 AM
    Not sure about this whole face recognition thing; I'd prefer fingerprinting as there's less chance of false positive with that.
  • 12 Hide
    urlsen , May 22, 2010 8:41 AM
    incorporated with googlemaps...cctv and big brother..we got the beginning of skynet
  • 2 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , May 22, 2010 11:15 AM
    There is not such thing as privacy on the web.
  • 0 Hide
    micr0be , May 22, 2010 3:44 PM
    i think we're looking at the start of a minority report security system.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2010 3:57 PM
    the possibility is quite scary if you think about it, take a picture of a person, run it through the facial recognition search engine, up pops a name, facebook, e-mail....... the misuse for such technology is frightening and dangerous
  • 1 Hide
    drutort , May 22, 2010 5:37 PM
    i guess this kind of tech would be a dream come true for the spammers/ads and id theft... this makes all of there jobs much easier... I would object to such tech without proper privacy restrictions on a global level, of course that might minimize the benefit of such tech to begin with :p  but that is a price to pay for not letting such tech get into the wrong hands...
  • 6 Hide
    climber , May 22, 2010 5:37 PM
    It also allows the government or corporations to see all of your association with people, since if you're in a photo in a certain place in the world and time via geotagging or just recognizing buildings or places and the people who are also in the photo, anyone else in the photo can also be searched against and all their activities can be cross referenced against yours, so an overall psycho-sociological profile be created for each of us. This may be great for google's marketing department but it's also great for those who want to socially engineer our society into a more conservative fundamentalist agenda. J. Edgar Hoover would have loved this technology.
  • 0 Hide
    dxwarlock , May 23, 2010 5:19 AM
    Everyone grab your tinfoil hat!
    let the floods of google hate posts begin...

    google could say they was adding extra login security in the most mundane way..and people would find a way to say its google trying to take over the world.

    google is the new microsoft of the 2010 decade. everyone jumping on the "down with the big guy" bus.
  • 0 Hide
    Blessedman , May 23, 2010 8:59 AM
    Actually it might be the start of preventive measures for such things as ID theft. This might actually be a good thing, walk into a bank they automatically identify you and do your thing. ATM's equipped with such technology along with your PIN would make it impossible for people to steal your cash with your PIN and card. It wouldn't take long before everyone in the world would be in one photo or another somewhere and those little red light camera's could catch criminals in a heart beat. Any place gets robbed, people just let them go (no need to try and stop them) and within a few blocks the cops know where they are and what they are traveling in. The idea is a little scary, yes...
  • 0 Hide
    septentriones , May 23, 2010 1:08 PM
    This probably won't work across the entie web but I can see facial recognition and fingerprint scans helping to make some sites safer from identity theft. If anything, less technology savvy people will be safer on the web if their email and finances are secured by their unique appearances. I Just hope that Google and other sites will be able to pull this off in a way that doesn't allow them to spy on individuals.
  • 0 Hide
    mikie tim t , May 23, 2010 4:49 PM
    The problem with all digital authentication techniques is that they all have to be transmitted and stored in some fashion. Even if encrypted, if someone of malicious intent used the hash, they are, in essence, the authenticated user. If this is is hijacked, how can you get a different authentication token if it is made up of a physical, unchangeable trait? I would think that a combination of password and RSA key like bankers use is just about as secure as we're going to be able to get.
  • 0 Hide
    Grizely1 , May 23, 2010 5:20 PM
    "This may be great for google's marketing department but it's also great for those who want to socially engineer our society into a more conservative fundamentalist agenda. J. Edgar Hoover would have loved this technology."

    You've got to be kidding. The current social structure has been completely engineered as it stands, this technology could possibly be used even further. Take a look at which president the Google CEO is most buddybuddy with...? Hmm I wonder.
  • 0 Hide
    zachary k , May 24, 2010 3:30 AM
    would be good for security. knowing google, they will find some creative way to control your computer or smartphone or something. speech to text with custom emoticons? yea, i am all for this. unfortunately people are way too paranoid about great, new technology.
  • 0 Hide
    sidran32 , May 24, 2010 5:14 AM
    Online, I don't know if I'd want that (though I can see the benefits). I just helped a friend purchase a new laptop, though, and it has a built-in webcam with software that uses facial recognition to automatically log him into the computer. All I could say when we discovered this was "holy crap that's freaking cool!" Because it is. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    2inthepink1inthestink , May 24, 2010 12:54 PM
    I love everything google has released, and I love how it's all free. I also love how I can choose to use it or just walk away.
  • 0 Hide
    tolham , May 24, 2010 1:32 PM
    they really shouldn't do any facial recognition. that feels way too 1984.
  • 0 Hide
    Dirtman73 , May 24, 2010 7:27 PM
    2inthepink1inthestinkI love everything google has released, and I love how it's all free. I also love how I can choose to use it or just walk away.


    Give Google another five years, and you won't have a choice.
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , May 25, 2010 12:52 PM
    They could apply it to the Street View project. Imagine being able to search for every photo showing (insert person you want to stalk here) in locations that he/she frequents.
    Just because it's inevitable, doesn't mean that it's a good idea.