Home Google+ Promises Its Facial Recognition Tool Isn’t Like Facebook’s

Google+ Promises Its Facial Recognition Tool Isn’t Like Facebook’s

Today Google+’s photo app launched a new feature called Find My Face, which purports to make tagging photos of you and your friends much easier. Thankfully, this isn’t a super creepy facial recognition tool. Not only is it completely opt-in, which means that Google asks for your permission before turning anything on, but users can decide whether or not they want to make the switch using Google+ settings. Matt Steiner, the engineering lead on the Google+ Photos Team, made the announcement today on Google+. Find My Face rolls out over the next few days.

Facebook launched its facial recognition tool to the world in June of this year. It had already gone live for North American users almost a year prior. Unlike Google+’s Find My Face, Facebook’s facial recognition was opt-out by default. This raised concerns for privacy advocates such as Sophos security blogger Graham Cluley, who wrote an open letter to Facebook regarding user privacy. Will Google+’s respect for users’ privacy help them take the lead in the social network battle?

There’s a big blue button explicitly asking if you want to turn on Find My Face. The language is easy-to-read and isn’t just thrown into the legal jargon-y Terms of Service. If you choose to turn it on, the feature will prompt you like so:

Facebook recently settled with the FTC regarding its privacy issues. Now it must first obtain express consent from users before changing its privacy settings. It will also undergo privacy audits every two years over the next 20 years. The same thing happened to Google’s failed Google Buzz. So you can bet both of the social networks are being extra-careful with its users privacy – or so we hope.

A recent survey of Facebook-using teenagers revealed that perhaps Google+ really will be a viable alternative to Facebook. For now at least, one thing is clear: Google+ is taking far more care with your privacy.

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