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Google Calls Facial Recognition Database "Creepy"

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You gotta hand it to Google. Mapping human facial structure and storing them in a database complete with a name, address, and email is where Mountain View draws the line.

Following Facebook's failed PR stunt which denigrated the social network's ethics rather than Google's, executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at the company's Big Tent conference and addressed internet privacy. During the talks, Schmidt remarked that the rapid development of facial recognition technology has surprised him the most in his career. However, he noted that the increasing accuracy of the service is "very concerning."

As a boon to privacy zealots but a crushing blow to lovers of futuristic spy tech, Schmidt put the kibosh on establishing a database of people's faces by saying it's a technology that Google is "unlikely" to pursue. He added, "[Some] company, by the way, is going to cross that line."

That could be a thinly veiled jab at Facebook which is working on an iPhoto-esque method of facial recognition for easier tagging of user photos. But seeing as how no one is ever pleased to see their face tagged in someone else's photo, it's hard to say if this will be a welcome new feature.

Although it's comforting to hear that Google isn't down with throwing our mugs into a huge database, the company is in fact sitting on an app that already recognizes people's faces -- a purported extra to Google Goggles. There even was a quote in March from Hartmut Neven, Google's engineering director for friggin' image-recognition development, who told CNN that his department will deliver facial recognition "once [they] have acceptable privacy models in place."

Given that everyone's keeping a close eye on many companies' privacy terms, they'd better be extremely acceptable.

(See also: Facebook Admits to Google Smear Campaign)
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