updated 07:40 pm EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Feature aims to streamline tagging
Google has introduced facial recognition technology for Google+, enabling users to quickly tag photos without manually entering identities for individual pictures. Users can access the new feature by creating a new album with pictures that include people's faces. The system automatically groups photos for each person, with options to tag by name or e-mail address.
The search giant has offered face recognition for several years through Picasa, before the photo service was rebranded Google Photos. The company later acquired PittPatt, a company that produced technology for face recognition and live tracking.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt at one time played down the idea of offering face recognition, citing privacy concerns, however the technology now plays a role in Google+ and represents one of the highlighted capabilities in Android 4.0 for video recording. The company is treating the new tagging feature as an opt-in service, which will wait for approval from the users who appear in photos.
The addition of face recognition to Google+ brings the social network's features closer to its primary rival, Facebook, which has offered similar functionality for nearly a year. [via Launch]