Google made an announcement today that they are planning to release an app for smartphones that will be able to identify faces from photos taken with them.
At first glance this technology can seem like quite an invasion of privacy, but it will will be an opt-in service – only users who who agree to give Google permission to access their profiles will be identified by the software.
The technology to do this has actually already been available for a few years, but I think it’s a big risk for any company to be the first to release such a software. The subject of privacy is very delicate, and bad decisions can easily damage a company’s reputation and trust. Only huge platforms such as Google or Facebook can get away with it releasing an app like this.
The fact that Google has released a statement saying they plan to release the app means they will be analyzing the feedback to estimate the what the fallout could be, and not release it if the reactions worldwide are too negative. If it was Facebook releasing the app, they would simply release it live, and if the feedback goes from bad to worse, they would pull the plug and retract it.
This is definitely a subject I will be following closely as it builds up momentum in the next days and weeks.