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Patents reveal Google's interest in facial recognition

updated 10:10 pm EDT, Thu May 19, 2011

Filings surface amid CEO's caution over security

Despite Google executive Eric Schmidt's recent comments cautioning against the use of facial recognition systems, several patent filings suggest the search giant has worked to develop such technology. As noted in an Atlantic report, one of the filings, titled "Facial Recognition with Social Networking Aiding," was submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization on August 6, 2010.

Schmidt, speaking at the company's Big Tent gathering in London, said that he was surprised by the quick development of facial recognition technology. The executive found the "surprising accuracy" to be "very concerning," according to quotes posted in by The Telegraph.

Although Schmidt claims facial recognition is a service Google is "unlikely" to pioneer, he pointed out that "some" company will eventually "cross that line."

The recent patent application covers technology utilized for a facial recognition search system that can be used to determine friends' faces in pictures, as an aid to searches for social networking. A separate patent application, submitted to the USPTO on August 19, 2010, describes a system that could be used to automatically identify celebrity face images to improve search results.

It is unclear if Google plans to continue developing facial recognition technology, or if the search giant has changed its position on the matter since the engineering teams first submitted the patent filings.




by MacNN Staff

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