Here is some Google news that is sure to make the privacy advocates bolt their doors and lower their blinds.
The top brass at Google is discussing the possible use of facial recognition technology.
Google currently uses facial recognition tools on their Picasa picture sharing site. The tool allows users to name people in their photos and then searches and finds other pictures where the same faces appear.
So far Google has not used facial recognition software for other search services. For instance, Google has not used facial recognition in their Google Goggles service. Google Goggles lets people search for something on the web by taking a picture of it with a mobile phone.
Privacy advocates are concerned that using facial recognition in Google Goggles searches would allow people to track strangers by simply taking a picture of them and running an internet search on it. This could potentially turn the technology into a dream come true for stalkers and identity thieves.
However, Google is facing competition from other facial recognition services like Face.com that are already pushing into this area of tech.
Google has recently been stung by revelations that their street view cameras gathered information from unsecured WiFi connections during the past several years. This is giving the company pause over the possible use of facial recognition technology in their search areas.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated that the collection of WiFi data did not cause any measurable harm to users. He said Google would do more to educate people about privacy concerns.
The genie is out of the bottle on this one. If Google doesn’t offer this technology to users, someone else will. The question is whether or not Google wants to take the blame if the technology is ever misused, which, like all technology, it inevitably will be.
Facial web searches of people will happen, its just a question of time and service provider.
[ Source: FT.com ]