Friday, July 1, 2011

Facial Recognition By Social Networks

Recently some people have concerned themselves with Facebook's Facial Recognition Software. I do not quite believe it is really a problem, since it's probably entirely automated, and thus does not involve unknown Facebook workers viewing your pictures.

Anyway, I return to my main point. What can we do to make the process less creepy?

I suggest that we perhaps should use software such as iPhoto to do all of the facial recognition, so that all of those "creepy" actions occur client-side. Then, come time to upload, iPhoto handles that by (1) uploading the pictures and (2) assigning the appropriate tags.

All Facebook (and any other social networks willing to participate) would have to do is present documentation for tagging, and the photo software's maker can do the rest. Undertaking such a project seems very simple, especially given the advanced and extremely functional state of iPhoto's facial recognition and uploading abilities.

As long as this software is free, usable, and easily accessible for download, there should be few -- if any -- hitches. (Luckily, iPhoto comes free on any new Mac computer. And, in all honestly, I would be shocked if there did not exist some means of facial recognition and uploading -- even if it required two separate applications.)

In addition, I wonder how following that path of development of client-side facial recognition will benefit everyone. (1) It surely benefits those who find Facebook's facial recognition "creepy." (2) It gives all more control over the photos and tags they make. (3) And it even benefits the social network, because now all the networks would need to provide just a simple protocol for uploading and tagging, rather than developing entirely new and different facial recognition software. Such protocol's may even ultimately be made standard and universal.

All things considered, the notion that Facebook's facial recognition is "creepy" may in fact be the impetus that allows us to justify client-side facial recognition, uploading, and tagging, which may ultimately lead us down a progressive path that benefits everyone in the game.

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