Last month, WPN's Abby Johnson spoke with Face.com CEO Gil Hirsch about his company, Face.com, and the potential of facial recognition software. In her interview with Hirsch, they touched on the potential of facial recognition software being used with social media sites in such a way that it could go beyond simply identifying the person to whom the face belongs but also determining the face/person's age, gender, and even their mood.
If you're a little unnerved by how smart this photography software is - I know actual people who have more trouble recognizing faces than the Face.com API - I recommend you take in the video of the full interview below. As Hirsch (rather successfully) argues, facial recognition software shouldn't be pigeon-holed for the draconian purposes of surveillance and security. In fact, when put into the hands of people, it can actually serve as a revolutionary utility for fun.
Everybody got that? Face.com isn't interested in security or surveillance applications for their software.
So now that we the people are ready to try to have a little fun with facial recognition, Face.com has released KLIK 1.0 for iPhone, a camera app capable of automatically tagging photos of your Facebook friends via the innovative use of a real-time mobile facial recognition. However, before you allow those ebbing anxieties about software that can identify faces, this isn't some Skynet protocol that's matching up faces of strangers to some database of every face ever because... well, not only is that impossible, but it's also not what Face.com is doing. Seriously.
“Developing KLIK has proven that mobile real-time face recognition is possible, and not only adds value to the experience of taking and sharing photos, it also adds an element that’s almost like science fiction –only this is real life, and in the palm of your hand.”
KLIK is able to identify faces is by connecting the app to your Facebook account. Through that, images captured on KLIK are matched with the photos of your Facebook friends in order to link your photo with the person. The app will automatically tag the photo of the person, which you can then choose to share on Facebook, Twitter, KLIK, or even just email it to someone. If for some reason your friend or friends have weird faces that aren't so easily matched up with their Facebook photos, there's a Learn option with KLIK that allows you to improve the recognition results.
If you a Facebook user doesn't have their photos available for public viewing, then KLIK won't be able to tag that person in the photo you take with the app. In other words, KLIK isn't going to breach any of your extant security settings on Facebook. I spoke with the Lead Product Manager of Face.com, Dan Barak, who assured that the use of KLIK doesn't open up any additional privacy concerns. In function, the app is hardly any different than taking a photo on your iPhone, opening your Facebook app, uploading the photo, and then tagging your friend with it - except for the fact that KLIK expedites that process with rad facial recognition software.
Additional features of KLIK include a series of filters to dress up your photos so any of you Instagram-attached shutterbugs out there won't have to go without the editing effects that you've grown to know and love.
For a brief primer on how to use KLIK, check out the video Face.com put together below.
The app is currently available in the iTunes App Store and, according to Barak, Face.com will soon be releasing versions supported by other platforms, like Android.
Feel free to let us here at WPN know what you think about the app should you give it a try (you should - it's actually kinda wild how well it matches faces in pictures). Like the case Hirch has made, why should such technology be terminally designated to oppressive police states? Go have fun with this app - finally, it's the future we've been waiting for without the serving of dystopia.