Privacy concerns plague Google Goggles facial recognition

 @ibtimes
on April 01 2011 7:46 AM
Google
Google REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

As privacy concerns plague the much-anticipated Google Goggles facial recognition feature, the internet giant has asserted that it is still working on the smartphone app. The company's statement comes after a media report on the upcoming Google Goggle facial recognition app prompted tech observers raise questions on how the app would compromise on privacy.

CNN reported Thursday that Google was working on an app that would identify people's faces. The mobile application would allow users to snap pictures of people's faces in order to access their personal information, a director for the project said this week, the report said.

In response to the report on the upcoming app, Venture Beat argued Friday that Google's face-recognition app sounds great for stalkers.

Tech companies keep on creating great new technologies that raise a lot of privacy concerns. The latest example is Google's upcoming mobile app that will identify people's faces in order to access their personal information, the report noted.

However, CNN's profile of Hartmut Neven, which carried the news on the facial recognition app, also carried quotes of the director of the Google project asserting that privacy still remains a concern in connection with the app.

We recognize that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these [privacy] issues, Neven was quoted as telling CNN in an exclusive interview.

Face recognition we will bring out once we have acceptable privacy models in place.

Meanwhile, V3.co.uk also reported that Google is still working on those privacy protections and has nothing to announce about them at present, citing a company spokesperson.

As we've said for more than a year, we will not add facial recognition to Goggles unless we have strong privacy protections in place, a company spokesperson told V3.co.uk.

We're still working on them. We have nothing to announce at this time.

Google Goggles has been around for a couple of years now. The company first announced the product that allows users to search with images at 2009 Searchology event. The feature will enable users take a picture of an object, a person or a place to retrieve all information available on the image. Optical character recognition (OCR) would read images such as logos and labels to help the search.

To counter the success of Google Goggles, tech rival Apple Inc acquired facial recognition software maker, Polar Rose Face, a Swedish start-up in September 2010.

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