Google has purchased PittPatt, a company that develops facial-recognition software. The company started as a research project at the Carnegie-Mellon University Robotics Institute. The name is coined from Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition. The software identifies facial structures in photographs and traces them in videos.
As the PittPatt’s homepage states: “We’ve worked hard to advance the research and technology in many important ways and have seen our technology come to life in some very interesting products. At Google, computer vision technology is already at the core of many existing products (such as Image Search, YouTube, Picasa, and Goggles), so it’s a natural fit to join Google and bring the benefits of our research and technology to a wider audience.”
“The Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition team has developed innovative technology in the area of pattern recognition and computer vision. We think their research and technology can benefit our users in many ways, and we look forward to working with them,” Google said in a statement about the deal.
According to Washington Post, Google has been treading lightly on facial recognition. However, there are strict concerns about privacy that surround the issue.
Last March, Google denied CNN’s report claiming that the company was working on a venture that would link a person’s face to his or her personal information on Google.
If you are wondering what Google plans to do with the latest acquisition, Chris Gaither, spokesperson for Google, said in a statement, “We’ve said that we won’t add face recognition to our apps or product features unless we have strong privacy protections in place, and that’s still the case.”
So, this new purchase means they are working toward facial recognition in some capacity. Once the hurdle concerning the privacy issue of facial recognition is established, then we will see some interesting apps or products coming from Google.