Five ways Facebook could use your face

Now that Facebook has officially swallowed Face.com, its facial recognition tech is about to get a lot better. What could happen then? Here are five possible scenarios.

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I have a 13 year old daughter, which means that every third conversation lately has been going something like this:

Me: Honey, your room is a mess.

She: Your face is a mess.

Or like this:

Me: Could you turn the radio down? That Kesha song is obnoxious.

She: Your face is obnoxious.

And so on. It turns out that, for reasons unknown, my daughter has a deep interest in my face, which gives her something in common with Facebook.

Facebook is deeply interested in my face. And your face, and your friends’ faces, and the visages of 900 million others. If it wasn’t, why else did Zuckerberg & Friends just buy Face.com?

The acquisition, which has been circulating around the rumor mill for more than two weeks, just became a reality earlier today when Face.com CEO Gil Hirsch acknowledged in a blog post the deal had been consummated.

How will Facebook use Face.com’s technology, which includes things like algorithms that can predict your age and mood based entirely on your face?

Only Facebook knows for sure. But one likely way is to simply augment its own facial recognition technology, which is used to suggest photo tags when you upload pix of your friends. (Remember, friends don’t let friends tag photos – pass it on.)

Another likely way is to add this kind of auto-tagging capability to Facebook’s mobile app, where Facebook is lagging badly and where Face.com’s Klik app is far ahead. Those are no brainers. But how else could Facebook use your face?

* As a log in. I do think that biometric logins will become standard on devices and networks because, frankly, passwords suck. Web cams are pretty standard these days, and facial recognition is better than many methods. It’s not as accurate as, say, retina scans or fingerprints, but much harder to steal than passwords and slightly less creepy in that Minority Report kind of way.

As Facebook moves onto mobile devices and other other platforms like public kiosks or home appliances where typing and other forms of biometrics are impractical, facial recognition would be an easy, low cost approach – and I’m sure many FB fans would welcome it.

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