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Apple buys out Sweden's Polar Rose

updated 10:50 am EDT, Mon September 20, 2010

Tech could add face recognition to iOS, MobileMe

Apple has reportedly agreed to buy up all shares of Polar Rose, a company based in Malmö, Sweden. The small firm specializes in face recognition technology, said to similar to that used in iPhoto. It offers three different products, at least two of which may explain Apple's interest.

The first of these is FaceCloud, a scalable server-side platform which introduces face recognition to web services. In early September the company halted a free service which let people tag Facebook friends in Flickr images. A blog entry notes that popularity "led to interest by larger companies in licensing our technology," forcing Polar Rose to direct more and more attention away from the free offering. Apple could conceivably bring the FaceCloud concept over to MobileMe, making it possible to use Faces without owning iPhoto or Aperture.

FaceLib operates on portable devices with or without the help of FaceCloud. In part because FaceLib is already supported on the iPhone (as well as Android), Apple may be in a position to integrate face recognition into future versions of iOS, whether as a feature or a security precaution. The Camera app might be able to automatically detect faces, for example, or the OS as a whole could use faces for profiles or biometric security.

A demonstration of Polar Rose's Recognizr for Android, seen below, shows contact info and social networking sites such as Twitter and YouTube being associated with a person's image. If converted to iOS, the tech could carry over into the Camera and/or Photos apps.

by MacNN Staff



  1. tortenteufel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    that's one face I would like to forget...

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is quite scary s***...

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Into the future...

    Aiming the iPhone at some guy and the "Most Wanted" poster pops up. Then a button prompts you to notify police wirelessly.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Perhaps they wanted to license their tech and thought it would be easier to just buy them out (and thus also keeping it away from others).


    Perhaps they were about to be sued by the company for violating its patents and found it easier to just buy them out.


    This was the college student Jobs is wasting his time with and Apple decided to buy out the company to shut him up.

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