A few months ago I blogged about Riya, a photo sharing and search site that lets you tag and search images based on facial recognition technology. Users have uploaded over 7 million personal photos to Riya’s servers and tagged and labeled the subject’s faces to be searchable via Riya’s facial recognition technology.
Now Riya is moving ahead by applying the same facial recognition technology (and the facial profiles already learned from those 7 million uploads) to all images found on the web. While they couch the benefits in terms of being able to search for particular fabric patterns of rugs online (yawn), such a service is much more likely to be used to find more pictures of a person’s face you saw on MySpace or Flickr, or of an ex-girlfriend you’re trying to track down. As I warned before:
Sure, it would be great if I could easily search for pictures of me on the web, but do I want others to be able to do that as well? Could this provide a useful tool for stalkers looking for a particular person? Abusive partners trying to track down their victim? (Note that Riya also uploads and indexes all the metadata related to your photos, including the date and time is was taken, when it was uploaded, etc. Users can also tag and search photos based on location). …there are externalities once all of the images of our daily lives (and their related metadata) are uploaded to the Internet, indexed, searchable, and accessible to all.
[via Search Engine Watch]