Tech blog

Facebook moments

»By acquiring face-recognition technology provider Face.com, Facebook is seeking to make tagging photos, a popular way to share photos on its network, easier. You won’t have to type your friend’s name on a photo to tag him. Facebook will on its own recognise his face and suggest his name.  It can get a little irritating to see photos getting scanned and names popping up, if you have no intention to tag anyone. Automated tagging may spread like an epidemic, annoying many users, who may not relish getting tagged and will be prompted to spend good time untagging themselves from unsolicited attention seekers.

Face recognition is also a technology which alarms privacy activists, who are not sure  where it will lead to. They have lobbied with the US and many European governments and forced Facebook to make it easier for users to opt out.

Facebook has been using many of Face.com applications for sometime now. It has opted to acquire ‘a long-standing in-house vendor’ to have better control on its technology. The acquisition follows Facebook’s relaunch of Timeline and acquisition of Instagram – a mobile app to share photos. Together these bring out the centrality of photos to the future of this social network.

The spread of the mobile phones and digital cameras, which are getting cheaper and more powerful, have led to an explosion of photographs, which capture all moments of life without any discrimination – from weddings to the weekly car washes. Most of these photos make their way to social networks especially Facebook, where they become available for the viewing pleasure of the larger public.

A few years ago photos were on film and were confined to private albums. Now they are in bytes and wide open to the word wide web. Social networks have been a key driver in this transformation, which is still spiralling. As the learned blog ‘Read Write Web’ noted recently, Facebook moments have replaced Kodak moments. It is to cement its leadership in this future, Facebook needs a technology to recognise you face.

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