Technology giant Google is developing a facial recognition mobile app that would allow users to snap a picture of a friend or new acquaintance - and then access his or her Google Profile contact information, according to various media outlets.
In order to be identified by the software, people would have to check a box agreeing to give Google permission to access their pictures and profile information, said Hartmut Neven, the Google engineering director for image-recognition development, the CNN reports.
We recognize that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these [privacy] issues, Neven told CNN in an exclusive interview. Face recognition we will bring out once we have acceptable privacy models in place.
Google's Profiles product includes a user's name, phone number and e-mail address. Google has not said what personal data might be displayed once a person is identified by its facial-recognition system, the report says.
In particular, 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,' Neven said.
That's a scary thought. So I think there is merit in finding a good route that makes the power of this technology available in a good way.
The face-recognition technology was incorporated into Picasa, Google's photo-sharing service, helping the software recognize friends and family members in your computer's photo library.
Recently, the tech giant has been fire from various quarters for encroaching into people privacy. The company agreed to pay $8.5 million last year in a legal settlement over grievances that its Buzz social-networking service published the names of people with whom Gmail users regularly communicated.