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Facebook to implement facial recognition technology

by Kelly MacNeil on December 16, 2010

Facebook will be implementing its new facial recognition technology next week, allowing for a more comprehensive photo tagging experience that will recognize the faces of users' friends based on previous tags.

The new feature is called Tag Suggestions and uses in-house and partner technology, Facebook vice president of product Chris Cox told Mashable.

Users will be able to receive automated suggestions when tagging their photo albums based on friends' faces, which users would then accept or change if incorrect. However, Facebook won't make the suggestions unless there's a "high confidence" of correct recognition, Cox told the news source.

Facebook wrote in a blog post that it has been working to make photo-tagging less of a chore.

"Now if you upload pictures from your cousin's wedding, we'll group together pictures of the bride and suggest her name. 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," Facebook engineer Justin Mitchell said in the post.

Facebook has made several updates to its photos feature this year, including group tagging, which allows users to type a person's name once and apply it to multiple photos, larger thumbnails and "drag-and-drop photos," though the simplification of the tagging process may be its biggest innovation yet, Mashable reports.

According to, Facebook launched a limited test version of its facial recognition software in July but should be making it fully available to users starting next week.

Users concerned with privacy issues will be able to opt out of the feature by disabling it in their privacy settings.

According to Mitchell, 100 million tags are made on Facebook each day.

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