PhotoFinder – What are your Facebook photos telling about you?

Apr 14, 2009 · 6 comments

in social media

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the new PhotoFinder Facebook application by Face.com is saying an awful lot about you.

Photofinder will find photographs of your friends all across Facebook, and even make guesses if a given photograph isn’t actually tagged. Had no idea your mild-mannered coworker was a hardcore partier? You may come across some photos you (and they!) wish you hadn’t.

photofinder_me

I have my privacy settings such that only close friends can see photos tagged of me, and therefore PhotoFinder is not able to display them. This is yet another reason why it’s important to understand the possible Facebook privacy settings, and decide how “transparent” you wish to be.

photofinder friends

If the simple fact that the service is compiling all your photos from Facebook into one place isn’t enough, there are a few additional “creepy” features.

One is the ‘watch list’. You can choose to add particular friends to a watch list, so that you can more easily know when new photos have been added.

The other is the tagging feature. Even if you haven’t been tagged in a photo, PhotoFinder will attempt to identify you (complete with a percentage of certainty that it is you). Others can then verify this identification, or submit a new one. The system keeps getting smarter…

photofinder guess

If you tag someone in PhotoFinder, it doesn’t tag them in the official Facebook interface; it is only within this application. While this may seem to be a good thing, on the contrary individuals not using the application may have no idea what their name is being associated with.

In one of the Core Conversations sessions at SxSW, we talked about this exact idea: using facial recognition to piece together information posted about people online, including cross-referencing photos on different sites (Flickr and Facebook, for example). Although I am comfortable being quite public with my blog, twitter feed, etc, the notion of my likeness being tagged and shared still makes me uneasy.

While getting a sneak peek into the lives of friends and acquaintances may sound appealing, ask yourself if you’re 100% comfortable sharing all aspects of your lives with your hundreds of facebook ‘friends’. If not, take a look at those Facebook privacy settings and make sure you’re not saying more than you intend.

{ 6 comments }

1 Brett Borders Apr 14, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Is this a safe place to admit that I’ve never said “yes” to a Facebook application in my entire life? I’ve always avoided them like forwarded Urban Legend e-mail from Aunt Selma.

This one might be a good place to start. Looks pretty cutting-ege.

Brett Borders’s last blog post..Why It Pays to Befriend the ‘Little Guy’

2 Andrea HIll Apr 14, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Wow, it’s very interesting to think that your first application is going to be one that’s rather scary!

Andrea HIll’s last blog post..PhotoFinder – What are your Facebook photos telling about you?

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3 Gil Hirsch Apr 18, 2009 at 5:54 am

Hey, this is Gil, I’m the CEO of Face.com. We know that some people get uncomfortable with the idea of facial recognition, but our intent is really to create cool technology and help people enjoy more photos. We work really hard to help people feel comfortable with our service and always give people the chance to protect their privacy. Feel free to email me (gil@face.com) if you want to connect directly, ask a question, or anything else that comes to mind.

4 Asma Rafi Apr 26, 2009 at 7:44 pm
5 Tyler Hayes May 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I’m sure Gil and the boys & girls will figure out good ways to keep all this safe and, more importantly, reasonable. Maybe something as simple as having to type in a valid email address when you tag someone in photos? That way, if the email gets bounced back as being fake, the photos don’t get tagged. Or maybe you have to enter the person’s Facebook/Twitter/Google/etc. ID for them to verify the tags, otherwise it’s a no-go. I’m sure they’ll think of much better ways, but with all the API work being done and ID programs (e.g. Facebook Connect), this technology is bound to do more good than harm, I’d say.

6 marianne Nov 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Well is there now a photo finder on facebook or not? Cause I can not seem to locate it. If there is, please explain in detail how it works please.

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