Some people say that Facebook is like the “social side” of Big Brother. Others think that notion is pretty ridiculous. But after one of Facebook’s newest acquisitions, it can definitely make even the most skeptical do a double-take.
As if the website, the one that currently has almost a billion users on it worldwide, didn’t already have enough information on the people who use it (because you do provide a certain amount of personal info when you sign up on it, right?), they have now announced that they have purchased Face.com—a type of facial recognition software.
Basically what it does is use its technology to identify people’s faces over the web and cell phones. With their face recognition capability, they can scan your photos for the purpose of seeking for other people who may share similar physical characteristics as you (or your friends) do for the purpose of making tagging just that much easier. And yes, according to the developers page of the website, they are “hyper-sensitive” about maintaining your privacy in the process.
So, just with the use of the word “tagging” alone, it makes sense why Facebook would want to purchase the company (especially since they are certainly not lacking in the money department!) and while they haven’t been super-open about how they plan to use the company (and its employees). Yet, being that the company was bought for somewhere between $55-100 million, we all can assume, that it must be pretty big.
Some people who have been following Facebook and Face.com believe that Facebook is wanting the company for the main purpose of being able to use their face detection technology as it relates to applying it to mobile apps and tablets, especially being that their current tagging capabilities are limited to desktops. Plus, being that Facebook recently launched a feature known as “Camera” (an app that makes it easier to take and upload pictures to Facebook), the timing makes loads of sense. Also, according to Gil Hirsch, the current CEO of Face.com, the merging of the two companies also gives Facebook a considerable boost when it comes to what it can offer as it directly relates to mobile phones—a place that more and more people are resorting to when it comes to their daily online use.
It’s unlikely that this will be a purchase that Facebook will regret being that it is reportedly the most popular place on the World Wide Web when it comes to sharing photos. Amazingly, almost 300 billion photos are uploaded onto the site on a daily basis.
Of course, those who have been paying close (enough) attention have noticed that face detection is nothing new to Facebook. After all, when people tag a photo, it only increases the possibility that other people will see it. But Face.com will certainly take it to another level.
It certainly seems like the only other thing that Facebook needs to do (at least in this area) is to unite with Gimp so that individuals can get a Gimp download straight from the Facebook site. That way, people won’t just tag photos, but be able to do some photo retouching and image authoring simultaneously.
It may not have happened yet, don’t put it past them. Facebook definitely continues to put their best face forward when it comes to their acquisitions. Pun intended.