The biggest social network in the world, Facebook, has gobbled another startup to add to its list of acquisitions. Facebook has acquired Israeli-based startup specializing in facial recognition technology – Face.com, for an estimated value of $60 million.
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$60 million is a far cry from the $1 billion Facebook shelled out from its pockets for social photo-sharing platform, Instagram; but it certainly shows Facebook’s seriousness in photo and photo-sharing capabilities of its social network.
The 11-man Israeli startup develops software that scans photos Facebook users uploads, and suggests friends users may wish to tag with one click. Face.com launched its first product in 2009, which supports third party apps like Photo Finder, Photo Tagger and CelebrityFindr – and app that allows Twitter users to search for photos of celebrities.
It is believed that the acquisition will not change how Facebook’s current face detection and tagging system works.
On the flip side though, Facebook has been taking flak from certain quarters concerned about privacy issues. UK campaign group Privacy International has warned of what it described as potential pitfalls of the technology.
Facebook has refuted suggestions that it was building a facial recognition database although Privacy International seems to claim otherwise.
Privacy issues aside, Face.com seems pleased with the acquisition citing on their blog, “We love building products, and like our friends at Facebook, we think that mobile is a critical part of people’s lives as they both create and consume content, and share contentwith their social graph. By working with Facebook directly, and joining their team, we’ll have more opportunities to build amazing products that will be employed by consumers – that’s all we’ve ever wanted to do. :)”
Will we see some changes to the way Facebook recognizes and tags our pictures in the coming weeks? We’ll see!