Facebook has become increasingly aggressive in their acquisition of technology companies that expand their offerings. They recently spent $1 billion to acquire Instagram, joining that industry-leading photography application with their massive social network. Photos are clearly a huge part of Facebook, and their ability to analyze those photographs is about to expand massively with their latest acquisition. Face.com creates technology to help with facial recognition, and Facebook’s acquisition of the company is sure to help the social giant increase its ability to recognize faces in the millions of photos uploaded to the network.
KLIK, one of the apps developed by Face.com, allows users to easily identify the faces of their Facebook friends in any photos they take with their mobile phone. This essentially eliminates the need to ‘tag’ photos, telling Facebook who is who in your pictures. KLIK also has a ‘Learn’ feature, so you can add information that helps the app recognize your friends. Face.com has an additional app called PhotoTagger, that links directly with Facebook to automatically tag people in your existing albums.
Facebook paid something between $55 million and $100 million for Face.com, depending on various reports. It’s not yet completely apparent how Facebook will integrate the staff and technology of Face.com, but chances are it is interested primarily in the mobile applications. Facebook’s current tag suggestion software is hit or miss on mobile devices, so Face.com’s software may be used to streamline the process. Facebook also recently launched its own photography app called Camera, aiming to circumvent Android and iOS camera applications and make tagging friends in photos an even smoother process.
Gil Hirsch, Face.com’s CEO, took to the company blog to discuss the sale, and the potential additional connections. Hirsch is also most interested in the mobile applications, as mobile computing is becoming an increasingly important aspect of consumers’ lives. He feels that the direct relationship with Facebook will give his company expanded resources to design and release new products to aid users with the mobile experience.
Facebook also discussed the sale in an email released to CNN. The message referred to the massive amount of people who use Facebook primarily to share photos, and how they expect the technology brought to the table by Face.com will contribute to creating the best possible photography experience. Until the deal is closed and official, users may have to wait for any further announcements. But with more than 300 million photos added to Facebook each and every day, it’s clear that this transaction will impact a ton of people.
Users are already experiencing face-detection applications on Facebook, as the network suggests tagging specific people in new photos. Tagging helps photos gain exposure, linking them up with several profiles at the same time, but users continue to be frustrated at the glitchy service they currently experience on Facebook. Many people have just jumped into their privacy settings and turned the face-detection feature off. But if the new offerings from Face.com are free, as is the case with a Gimp download, chances are the vast majority of users will embrace the technology, even if it means even less privacy on Facebook.