Facebook Photos: Now With Facial Recognition Tech

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In a second phase of a photo tool overhaul, Facebook has added facial recognition technology in a new “Tag Suggestions” feature, the company announced on its blog Wednesday. The software, which will roll out to U.S. users next week, will identity familiar faces within a specific photo album, eliminating the need to tag each person individually. Though Facebook engineer Justin Mitchell makes it clear that the new tool won’t always have an identification for you since the software is only able to suggest the correct tag by “grouping similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos.” (The key words there being, “whenever possible.”)

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Still, this is a huge update to Photos, but don’t think it’ll be the last. It’s no secret Facebook has been busy scraping time off most of its photo functions, which in a lengthy album, could get tedious. Photos are undeniably one of the site’s largest lures for users, as the company claims there are some 100 million tags to pictures every day. Facebook has been rolling out Photos changes lately, which included a similar upgrade in Group Tagging and a new profile photo bank that debuted alongside the new profile earlier this month.

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Like with any Facebook upgrade, privacy concerns aren’t far behind. With the new Tag Suggestions tool, comes a snazzy “Suggest photos of me to friends” – complete with an automatic “ON” switch. Users will be able to opt out once the new tool goes live through their Privacy Settings, though even with the “Suggest” feature turned off, friends will be able to tag you manually.

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