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Google deny plans for Facial Recognition program

CNN released a story which stated that Google were developing a facial recognition application. Google have since denied it, but the rumours persist.

“Google plans to introduce a mobile application that 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 before CNN altered the story later in the day.

Google say that the story is speculative and said that nothing in its corporate attitude has changed regarding their plans to launch a program that could identify faces. Google have said however that facial recognition technology is the most requested feature for Google Goggles, a technology it launched at the end of 2009 which can identify objects and read barcodes. It can even translate text and recognise advertisements.

A Google spokesperson said that the plans regarding facial recognition have not changed. “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. We’re still working on them. We have nothing to announce at this time.

CNN have reinforced their original story however saying “Google’s claims do not fit the facts of the situation. This interview was prearranged – on the record – and staffed by a Google PR rep, who raised no objections at the time and did not deny what the engineer said. Additionally, we have an audio recording of the interview, as does Google. We stand firmly behind Mark’s reporting.”

Eric Schmidt told the Financial Times in 2010 that the company were looking into issues like Facial Recognition but there were concerns due to privacy concerns. A problem that Google have to deal with on a fairly regular basis, even without the new technology.

Schmidt said “Facial recognition is a good example . . . anything we did in that area would be highly, highly planned, discussed and reviewed. When you go through these things, you review your management procedures.”

KitGuru says: So is it coming or not? CNN seem to think it will be, Google are denying it right now. But as we all know companies tend to deny anything they don’t want to ‘officially announce’.

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