Google App Would ID Faces, Dish Out Personal Info

Search giant being 'extra careful' amid privacy concerns

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 1, 2011 4:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – Imagine this: You're sitting in a cafe. Someone snaps a photo of you on their cell. An app matches your face with your name. Said photographer suddenly knows who you are ... and maybe even your phone number and email. Google is reportedly developing just such a a facial-recognition mobile app, CNN reports. With an eye on privacy concerns, the company is proceeding slowly; Google's Profiles product collects users' names, phone numbers, and emails, but people will have to tick a box to allow their info to be displayed. And Google hasn't said which data it would share upon identification.

Indeed, the technology for the project has long been available, notes CNN, but Google is taking a “conservative” approach to privacy. People have “rightful” concerns, notes the company's engineering director: “Women say, 'Oh my God. Imagine this guy takes a picture of me in a bar, and then he knows my address just because somewhere on the Web there is an association of my address with my photo.' That's a scary thought.” Addendum: Google has denied the story, but CNN says the interview was given on the record and was recorded.

One day: Take a photo, use Google's app to find out who the mystery person is...   (Shutterstock)
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