Google Discussing Facial Recognition Technology

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.

  • eddieroolz
    Not sure about this whole face recognition thing; I'd prefer fingerprinting as there's less chance of false positive with that.
  • urlsen
    incorporated with googlemaps...cctv and big brother..we got the beginning of skynet
  • JohnnyLucky
    There is not such thing as privacy on the web.
  • micr0be
    i think we're looking at the start of a minority report security system.
  • 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
  • drutort
    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...
  • climber
    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.
  • dxwarlock
    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.
  • Blessedman
    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...
  • septentriones
    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.