Archive for the ‘facial recognition’ tag
Now you can check-in to a location on Facebook through facial recognition scanning. The Redpepper ad agency claims to be beta testing a camera on the outside of a “Nashville business” that automatically checks patrons in to a location and offers them deals, after users have given the company access to their Facebook data (note: this was developed independently from Facebook). A video explanation of the technology, Facedeals, is below.
Facebook has come under intense congressional scrutiny for taking steps toward facial recognition, with the purchase of Face.com. However, after only a month, it ceased using the technology to automatically suggest which friends to tag in photos.
As Redpepper explains in a blog post, the alleged technology is done completely through a voluntary app:
The Facedeals app must be authorized via your Facebook account. With your help, the app verifies your most recent photo tags, using those to map the physical appearance of your face. Our custom-developed cameras then simply use this existing data to identify you in the real world. Personalized deals can now be delivered to your Smartphone from all participating locations—all you have to do is show your face.
Redpepper argues that the technology will help both consumers and businesses use the magic of Facebook to more efficiently dole out deals. What do you think? Creepy or awesome?
Our Facebook specialist Josh Constine wanted it be clear that Facedeals is not approved or endorsed by Facebook. It merely uses the social network as an easy way for people to upload photos for Facedeals to do its own facial recognition processing.
In fact, considering the name and coloring, Facedeals could get slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit. Facebook is trying to downplay its use of facial recog technology, and probably won’t take kindly to this confusion and possibly fear-inducing employment of its platform.
Hulu released a new, chromeless video player on Saturday, in an effort to improve the viewing experience for users of its web site. The new player is designed to give viewers easier access to their settings, and has also added a 10-second rewind feature to enable viewers to quickly skip back and re-watch their favorite moments of a program.
The new player groups all of a video’s settings — facial recognition, closed captioning, and the like — all in one place, and the player automatically detects and adjusts video quality based on the available bandwidth. And when you pause a video, the player highlights program and episode information, along with how much time is left in the show or movie you’re watching.
When shows finish, Hulu now lets you choose from a group of comparable shows to watch next, or lets users auto-play the next selection, making the experience more like watching TV uninterrupted. For instance, at the end of an episode of The Office, I was recommended new episodes of fellow NBC comedies Parks And Recreation and Community.
But one of the most important new features is the 10-second rewind feature, which lets users quickly skip back and re-watch certain moments of a show — for instance, if there was a funny joke, or if they maybe missed a crucial line in a drama. Being able to skip back without pausing or scrubbing the timeline of the video player is pretty cool.
Even though Hulu’s focused on expanding availability of its content on tablets and connected TV devices, it still get a sizable audience on its website. Video players on the web have come a long way over the years, and Hulu’s interface just continues to improve. I mean, can you believe the Hulu player used to look like this? It looks positively clunky by comparison.
Tagged photos are Facebook’s lifeblood, and it would be happy to suck them out of other apps. That’s why I suspect Facebook will resurrect Face.com’s facial recognition API, even though it just shut it down less than a month after acquiring the Israeli company.
Reopening the API will let other apps’ users easily tag their Facebook friends in photos…which can then be shared back to Facebook where they generate notifications, return visits, and engagement the social network can monetize with ads.
It’s all part of Facebook’s on-going quest to become the Omni-news feed, collecting content from everywhere for data-mining and display.
Too Many Faceless Photos
Tagged photos are extremely valuable to Facebook. They’re a strong signal for who you’re currently closest to, so they teach its EdgeRank algorithm who to show in your news feed. Tagged photos can appear on multiple people’s timelines so they generate more time-on-site from browsing. Plus, most people will return to Facebook immediately to check out a photo they’ve been tagged in. That’s why Facebook wants every face-filled photo tagged.
Until it was bought by Facebook for around $55 million, the Tel Aviv startup offered an API for scanning photos and recognizing your Facebook or Twitter friends. This meant instead of manually tagging someone and having to enter or search for their name, Face.com’s API would automatically pre-tag friends all you had to do was confirm they were accurate.
This reduced-friction flow makes you a hell of a lot more likely to tag all your friends in photos you upload, especially from mobile where typing and search are more annoying, and you want to get done quick so you can return to actually making memories, not just recording them.
That’s partly why Facebook acquired Face.com in the first place — to improve this functionality in its own apps. But without an API, Facebook is getting tons of untagged photos flowing in from Instagram, Camera+, Hipstamatic, and other apps. That’s a lot of engagement and valuable data it’s missing.
Resur-Facing The API
When Face.com was bought it promised devs, “We love you guys, and the plan is to continue to support our developer community.” Yet this weekend, an email it sent to developers published by Newsgeek in Israel and The Next Web state-side confessed that part of the acquisition “includes closing down other products and services that we are no longer able to support, and this includes the Face.com developers API.”
I don’t think it actually broke that initial promise, though. It just can’t reveal what’s next. When I asked Facebook about plans for an revived API, it coyly replied “we don’t have a comment/anything to share here” but it rarely signals until its ready to launch something.
I bet the API is going into a cocoon to later emerge as something but more squarely aligned with Facebook long-term plan. Here’s what I see coming down the pipe.
Facebook can’t just auto-tag your photos on its end after they’ve been uploaded from somewhere else. People might find it creepy or the tags could be inaccurate. It needs people to tag them as they’re uploaded, and that means offering an API.
I expect it to allow any app that’s received proper Facebook data permissions from you to scan your photos and pre-tag them with your Facebook friends. If those friends have connected accounts on that third-party service, their local usernames will be mapped to the tags.
For example, a friend goes to upload an Instagram of me, the hypothetical Facebook face API recognizes me as Josh Constine, and then tags me within Instagram’s feed as my username “joshsc”, but if shared to Facebook I’d be properly tagged with real name and profile.
The question is whether Facebook will only provide the API if the tagged photos are shared back to it. That could be problematic as where a photo is syndicated is often the last step before an upload is completed, so I expect it will offer the API to any app that includes a prominent Facebook sharing option.
This neatly follows the recent trend of Facebook dangling a “we-get-content-you-get-traffic” exchange in front of other mobile apps through its new “Like and Follow Actions“. Meanwhile, Facebook’s Open Graph API is swallowing up as fast as it can. A recognition API could face the social network in the right direction to become the only news feed you need.
The new, highly polished version of Android is finally reaching the masses, and it’s got some pretty great new features in tow—like facial recognition, Android Beam, data tracking. But what about the ones Google hasn’t been talking about? Here are our six favorite features in Ice Cream Sandwich that are worth upgrading for. More »
Jeremiah Owyang offered an insightful piece on how social profiling will work in the real world last week. We’re all aware that influence tools like Klout are being used to reward people with deals, perks and discounts based on their measure of online influence. Owyang rightfully predicts that what we’re seeing now is the tip of the iceberg, like it or not.
But for all its potential, social profiling scares me. It harkens back a day when people were treated differently because of their race or gender. The various Civil Rights Acts in the United States were essentially an effort to force people to not consider how someone looks when deciding whether or not they could be treated like everyone else. Yet with the social profiling future Owyang portrays — facial recognition on iPhones allowing us to see someone’s Klout score just by aiming our phone at them — I think we’re in for a universe of hurt.
There are several reasons I worry about social profiling. The tale of Sam Fiorella being overlooked for a job because of a perceived low Klout score which appeared in Wired last week (and is also an early case study in Mark Schaefer’s book Return on Influence) is just one example. Sam Fiorella is brilliant, experienced and few people in the digital space can hold a candle to his qualifications to help brands kick ass. Yet some bozo somewhere eliminated him from contention for a digital strategist position because of his Klout score?
Whomever that person or agency is, be glad Sam is a professional and wouldn’t think of disclosing who you are. You might be laughed out of the industry for that one.
My problems with their improper use of Klout?
- Klout is just one way of looking at the data of influence
- Klout is limited to reach and resonance on social networks online, and further limited to only a handful of them.
- Klout doesn’t measure offline influence, email influence, word-of-mouth influence, publishing influence (blogs, news sites, newspapers, magazines, broadcasting), job titles, name recognition, whether you’re connected to the mafia and so on.
- Klout, to date, is very, very, very, very, very, very (is that enough veries?) immature. It doesn’t link what a person does offline or away from social profiles to their impact. For example, as of April 29, Walt Mossberg, arguably one of the most influential people in tech, has a Klout score of 68. Mine is 69. That’s bullshit. Better example: P.J. O’Rourke, perhaps one of the most influential political commentators of our day? Klout score of zero. But there’s an “I want to be P.J. O’Rourke” account on Twitter. It has a Klout score of 20.
- Then there’s my argument that not everyone is online with the intent and purpose of growing fans/friends/followers. Most people are online to stalk their ex’s and see pictures of their grandkids. Klout doesn’t mean anything to them and never will. I content that is true of most (greater than 75 percent) all all people online anywhere. Some research points in that direction, but no one has really asked those direct questions yet.
So the future Owyang tells of is one based on metrics that are incomplete and, on the whole, less than compelling.
Regardless of the accuracy and significance of the data used to measure influence, the whole notion of profiling is morally reprehensible to me. Perhaps idyllic and utopian in my opinion, and certainly based on the fact I grew up in a struggling, middle class family in a small town where what clothes you wore and where you lived was more important than whether or not you could speak coherently, I believe human beings to all be of equal value to the world. Ashton Kutcher doesn’t deserve to be treated better at a restaurant than Ashton Johnson, a resident director at Lyon College in Jonesboro, Arkansas. (Whom I picked randomly from a search of people named Ashton on LinkedIn.)
Yes, the reality of our world is that the restaurant in question thinks that treating Ashton Kutcher well might mean he’ll recommend them to millions of people on Twitter or that he’ll let them take his picture to hang on their wall of fame. Yes, marketers are going to do the same with online influencers because they’re dying to find some measurable outcome from social media. Maybe that 25,000-followers Twitter guy will drop a “loved shopping there” Tweet that will mean a few more “Likes” on Facebook!
But this doesn’t make it right. And one day, we may find, it won’t make it Constitutional.
What social profiling does is allows us to play favorites. Every time that’s been done in this country it has created one, or both, of two things:
- Animosity between groups of people, typically the haves and the have-nots
- Laws to abridge a person or organization’s ability to do so
Yes, there’s a difference between racism, sexism, religious prejudice and letting someone with more Twitter followers get First Class seat upgrades before everyone else. Or is there? We have loyalty clubs and rewards programs. They play favorites. But those programs are opt-in and fueled by purchase. I can buy enough airline tickets or miles to jump in front of you in line and have access to the private club.
Everyone else can’t buy online influence. It’s not a true opt-in, opt-out system. It’s prejudiced against people who don’t want or need to be well endowed, virtually. It is not a level playing field and can’t be leveled by money or time, necessarily.
What social profiling does is creates a system of being able to judge a person by their looks, even if those looks are augmented by technology, and say, “You’re not worthy.” I see nothing good coming from that.
Sadly, it’s going to take an Act of Congress — literally — to stop it from happening.
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Apple continues to consider ways to enable easy user switching and control for iOS devices using facial recognition, which may eventually lead to facial unlock features in the iPhone or iPad. A recently published patent application details an automatic user-switching system which can lock, unlock, and reconfigure a device for unique users based on face detection using a front-facing camera.
Beyond the use of a facial recognition to enable the system, however, we think the concept of multi-user iOS devices has been a long time coming. Furthermore, the same system could be easily adapted to desktop systems, making it easier to share an iMac or even a MacBook among family members or coworkers.
Taiwanese manufacturer HTC has confirmed that 16 of its smartphones will receive the update to Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, the company said in a blog post today.
Ice Cream Sandwich includes a much more beautiful design and new features like a better web browser and facial recognition unlocking. We previously have seen estimates from Verizon and Motorola about their respective updates to Ice Cream Sandwich on Android phones and tablets. Now we have HTC adding its own devices to the conversation, although Verizon had already indicated four HTC devices would get the update.
The company describes the timing of delivering the important update as such:
As for timing, we’re in the early stages of rolling out Android 4.0 for the HTC Sensation and HTC Sensation XE and upgrades will be more widely available in the next few weeks. The update for the HTC Sensation 4G and HTC Sensation XL will follow. Please note, once we start pushing out updates it will take time for all carriers in each country to get the update. We are working closely with our carrier partners to nail down update schedules for our other smartphones and will have more to share very soon.
And here’s the list of devices getting the update:
• DROID Incredible 2 by HTC
• HTC Amaze 4G
• HTC Desire S
• HTC Desire HD
• HTC EVO 3D
• HTC EVO Design 4G
• HTC Incredible S
• HTC Sensation
• HTC Sensation XL
• HTC Sensation 4G
• HTC Sensation XE
• HTC Raider
• HTC Rezound
• HTC Rhyme
• HTC Thunderbolt
• HTC Vivid
Did your phone make the cut?
Filed under: mobile
Motorola already let its ICS-specific roadmap out of the gate, but its estimates were disappointing. Verizon does not say when these devices will actually get the update, but at least we know which current units will get the update some time in the future. Almost all of the devices listed by Verizon include 4G LTE network connectivity, so clearly the network wants to ensure the top-tier users continue to get the best possible experience.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich includes a haltingly beautiful design and many new features like a better web browser and facial recognition unlocking.
The full list of Android devices that will get the upgrade can be viewed below:
• Droid Incredible 2
•Droid Razr Maxx
•Droid Xyboard 8.2
•Droid Xybaord 10.1
• Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
• Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
Will your Verizon device be getting the update to Android 4.0?
Filed under: mobile
Finally! We’re all saved from socially awkward moments when you forget someone’s name you know you should know.
These augmented reality goggles with facial recognition will help identify people based on their Facebook profiles and give you their info, including their name. Created by Vergence Labs.
It’s only a prototype, so they have time to make them look more stylish, and less like futuristic sci-fi equipment from the 1950s.
If you’ve got a new Motorola smartphone, prepare for some disappointing news. Motorola is taking its sweet time in updating its latest devices to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.
Android fragmentation, with devices all having different versions of the OS, is still a rampant problem that means each phone owner with Android has different capabilities. And now, some apps and features only work for Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of Android that includes a haltingly beautiful design and many new features like facial recognition unlocking.
Motorola’s just-released roadmap that shows the software update schedule for its phones and tablets shows that many devices won’t even begin to see Ice Cream Sandwich until the third quarter of 2012.
The list so far indicates that the Motorola Xoom Family Edition will receive ICS in the second quarter of the year. The Atrix 2, Atrix 4G, Photon 4G, Xyboard 8.2, and Xyboard 10.1 will see the update to ICS in the third quarter.
As for some of the most popular and recent smartphones Motorola has put out, we have no idea when the update will roll out. The Droid 3, Droid 4, Droid Bionic, Droid Razr, Droid Razr Maxx, Droid X2, and many others are listed as “in evaluation and planning,” so we wouldn’t expect those to see updates until at least the third quarter or later.
If you scroll down the roadmap’s list even further, you can see a graveyard of other unsupported Android devices that never saw meaningful late-stage updates. Some of the worst offenders include the Cliq XT with Android 1.5, the Devour at Android 1.6, and the Milestone at Android 2.1. Those poor phones.
You can view the full list of Motorola’s planned updates in the United States below:
Android Ice Cream Sandwich photo: Abul Hussain/Flickr
Filed under: mobile