Google's Opt-In Facial Recognition Avoids Facebook's Missteps

Discussion in 'Social Media for Business' started by Jerlene, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Jerlene

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    Feb 3, 2011
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    Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) quiet introduction of facial recognition for its photos application on Google+ is drawing praise from analysts and security researchers alike because it stands in stark contrast to the way Facebook employed similar technology earlier this year.

    That is, it's opt-in. Google's Find My Face feature lets its Google+ social network users opt-in to photo tagging. When users opt-in to Find My Face, the next time one of their Google+ contacts adds a photo they're in, they'll see their name as a suggested tag. Users will receive a tag prompt can accept or reject any instance where someone wants to tag them.

    "Despite the fact that I am not comfortable with my information being gathered in this manner, providing people with a choice is never a bad thing," wrote Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at security software provider Sophos Canada. "It is up to every individual to make an *informed* choice about how their personal information is shared and asking their permission is the right approach."

    If Find My Face sounds familiar it's because Facebook already beat Google to such a feature called Tag Suggestions, which automatically detects users in photos and links them with their names so that users don't have to manually tag friends.

    The tool was actually announced a year ago, but some of Facebook's 800 million-plus users forgot about it. As Facebook gradually rolled Tag Suggestions out in 2011, it drew the ire of enough users for not advising them the feature had been turned on. People can be quite self-conscious about tagged photos because they can provide contextual information that users may want to keep private.

    Privacy and U.S. Congressmen took notice. Last June, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Connecticut state Attorney General George Jepsen complained that Facebook should have provided more notice and should instead make the feature opt-in. Facebook then made the tool easier to opt out of, but it's still an opt-out feature.

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  2. D Alishouse

    D Alishouse
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    Nov 19, 2011
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    It would serve Google well to pay attention to some of the "mistakes" Facebook has made with their users privacy. By making the face recognition opt-in Google gives users the sense that they are trying to maintain their privacy at all times. If Google+ wants to overtake Facebook in the social media realm then avoiding some of Facebook's previous moves could definitely give them a good boost in that direction. Who knows, if Google+ gives them a good run for the money maybe Facebook will start changing some of it's policies as well.

    In the end, competition could force the two of them to deliver social media with all of the pluses and none of the minuses that the public desires.

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