Finding photos of yourself to tag on Facebook could soon become a lot easier - so easy, in fact, that they may actually be able to find you first.
Face.com, an Israeli startup that specializes in facial recognition technology, has officially been acquired by Facebook, the social network of choice for nearly one billion people worldwide.
The five-year-old Israeli startup announced the news in a blog post Monday after weeks of speculation over the merger.
Both camps remain tight-lipped on terms of the deal, but Techcrunch.com reports that Facebook paid between $55 million and $60 million in cash and stock for Face.com.
"Our mission is and has always been to find new and exciting ways to make face recognition a fun, engaging part of people's lives," wrote Face.com founder Gil Hirsh in a blog post on the company's website. "If you're anything like us, Facebook is a part of your life every single day."
Facebook already uses some of Face.com's technology on its website, allowing users to auto-tag friends in photos and even gauge the subject's age. Their facial recognition analytics can reportedly identify faces even when conditions are poor, such as when there is low light, poor focus, or subjects are wearing glasses.
Where Face.com specializes, however, is mobile photo recognition. This is leading many to believe that Facebook will expand even further into the smartphone market, drawing upon the launch of their own Camera app and the purchase of Instagram for $1 billion in April.
"With Instagram and Facebook Camera on the front end and Face.com on the back, Mark Zuckerberg has the arsenal he needs to win the war for mobile photos," wrote TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis.
As neat as the prospect of self-tagging mobile photos may be, digital privacy advocates are raising concerns over the potential pitfalls of this technology.
"Facebook are in the process of building the largest and most accurate facial recognition database in the world, and with great power comes great responsibility," said Emma Draper of U.K. campaign group Privacy International to the BBC.
What are your thoughts on Facebook's latest acquisition? Are you concerned about privacy issues in posting photos online? What are the potential benefits and pitfalls of having this technology in your life?
Let us know in the comments below.
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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