Facebook introduces facial recognition

Facebook’s improved its photo-tagging capability with a new facial recognition feature that suggests names every time a photo is uploaded.

In July, the company launched a face detection feature, highlighting what it reckoned were faces for tagging, and at the end of September, it introduced group tagging, allowing users to tag multiple photos of the same person in one go.

But the new feature takes this a step further by grouping similar photos together and offering suggestions for tags, based on user profiles and already-tagged pictures. As at present, only friends will be able to tag photos.

“Now, if you upload pictures from your cousin’s wedding, we’ll group together pictures of the bride and suggest her name,” says engineer Justin Mitchell. “Instead of typing her name 64 times, all you’ll need to do is click ‘Save’ to tag all of your cousin’s pictures at once.”

People are notified when they’re tagged, and can untag themselves anytime.

As you’d expect from a company that’s received so muck flak over privacy, Facebook is keen to stress that it’s possible to opt out of the feature. Clicking ‘customize settings’ and then unchecking ‘Suggest photos of me to friends’ does the trick. People will still be able to tag friends’ photos even if they have opted out, but will have to do it manually, as now.

Facebook says it plans to start rolling the feature out to US users over the next few weeks.