CNN reports today that Google is working on a facial recognition app that would enable the user to find out personal information about people simply by taking their photo, a bit like Google Goggles, only with people instead of things. According to Google engineering director for image-recognition development, Hartmut Neven (pictured), people would only be identified by the software if they had already given Google permission to use their photo and profile information, which could include name, phone number and e-mail address.
“We recognise that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these issues,” Neven told CNN, referring to the many privacy concerns that some people will have about the app. According to CNN, Google has had the technology required for this sort of facial-recognition search app for quite some time, but it has held back on the app until now because some people within Google were concerned about the privacy issues that would arise from such an app.
UPDATE: Engadget reports that Google has responded very quickly to CNN's story by saying that they have no plans to introduce a facial recognition app until they have "a strong privacy model in place." According to Engadget, Google even goes as far as to say that the idea that the app would link facial recognition to personal data is "inventions of the reporter," so a strong denial there from Google."People are asking for it all the time, but as an established company like Google, you have to be way more conservative than a little startup that has nothing to lose," Neven told CNN. "Technically, we can pretty much do all of these things."
Source: Google making app that would identify people's faces - CNN.com, Google working on a face recognition app that leads to your personal info? (update: Google says 'no') -- Engadget