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Thanks to the internet, our private lives are more and more exposed online. The amount of data every individual is adding appears to be a drop into the ocean. Does that thought make you feel safe? Think again!

Search engines are becoming ever more smarter in managing the massive amounts of data they are facing. In fact, face search and facial recognition are just a few of the many tools. When used the right way, they quickly unravel what an individual has been up to.

Here are three face search engines that may give you a thrill. Let’s see what they reveal about you or your friends.

facesearch – Face Search Engine

face recognition softwareThis search engine is as harmless as it can get. It searches for faces based on image tags. So you query the search engine for a name and it will return all matching images containing faces. And as you can see in the example below, it doesn’t appear to be very accurate at that.

face recognition software

Did you know you could make Google search for faces only, by adding a small bit of code? When you go to Google Image Search, enter your query and then add “&imgtype=face” (without the quotes of course) to the end of the URL. It will give you similar results as facesearch above.

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You’ll find more information about this hidden Google feature in this article published on Ars Technica.

PicTriev – Face Recognition Search Engine

face recognitionPicTriev goes one step further by actually searching for similar faces. So what you do is upload a portrait shot or any face photo in .jpg or .jpeg format, with a size no larger than 200KB, and the search engine will return matching images found online. You can also run a demo with a selection of famous photos.

For demonstration purposes, I used one of my funny photos. The approximate age of 20 is very flattering and I’m happy that PicTriev recognized that I was mostly female. Unfortunately, however, my face matches mostly with that of males. Surprisingly, it didn’t come up with any pictures of me that are available online.

face recognition

It works much better with celebrity images.

Viewdle – Face Recognition Video Search Engine

face recognitionViewdle is a facial recognition video search engine, powered by Reuters Labs.

It analyzes videos frame by frame, searching for faces. Moreover, it adds contextual information to the face recognition data by converting speech to text. All of that is combined in an index, which allows to search for the <em>right person, in the right clip, at the right moment</em>. In other words, it helps you find information and people in videos.

At this point Viewdle can only find famous faces. Just type in a name at the bottom left and you’ll be forwarded to the search page. Here you can also enter a keyword to narrow down the results. Advanced search allows you to refine the search results by picking a video channel and time frame for the video.

face recognition

Obviously, this type of indexing is highly useful for TV stations, for example to browse their archives for relevant material.

If you’re interested in how to use face recognition software to organize your photos, check out Tim’s article on How To Use Facial Recognition in Picasa Web Albums How To Use Facial Recognition in Picasa Web Albums How To Use Facial Recognition in Picasa Web Albums Read More .

Now what did you find out about yourself or your friend here?

Image credits: 195617

  1. Sam Rothberg
    March 21, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    If only google would allow access to its face recognition databases, also the extremely advanced point to point measuring algo's, If they have it all I see no reason not to give access to the public, at least at some limited level, accuracy is at 99.99 percent currently for reasonable resolution, doesnt even have to be straight on face forward photo either, of course with the right amount of research you can ID anyone, but say you have a strange person you've spotted several times and you would just like to know if they are a threat or just someone who has the same patterns as you might, its not justified to notify authorities, but a little information could give you peace of mind, or if they did seem suspicious then you could proceed to take some sort of action and you would have data to make better informed decisions, Names, Criminal Backgrounds, that sort of public information should be available and easily searchable through a public face recognition database, it could be restricted to hide identities of those who have sensitive jobs or reason to be protected. Access would be logged so the system would be difficult to abuse by criminals themselves. For those who have been victimized or stalked, they could have much earlier taken action by knowing who the person was, if they had criminal history etc. Without public access, you can either go to the police and possibly waste their time, but more likely you would just pass it off as coincidence and do nothing which could end up in a home invasion, identity theft, harassment, or even a violent crime that could be avoided, Just thoughts, Its something that should be considered, for example the Sex Offender Database and Mapping has probably prevented many crimes because the general public is able to know who and where the bad people are at, this is also a huge deterrent to potential criminals because they know that they can be caught or thwarted if they try and commit and future offenses. Public Safety is what we pay for, and an ounce of prevention and awareness goes a long way, it should be up to every citizen to access information of importance and make the best decisions they can, once you can determine someone is out of place, or is definitely suspicious then law enforcement is where you take the information to, but say the same car drives by 12 times at night, you cant really jump to conclusions, but if you could find his name, ask the neighbors if they notice anything odd, or find a criminal background, then you would be justified in saying something. I had this same case happen, about 2 months later they arrested him for stealing scrap out of peoples yards. I'm sure many instances similar and worse could have been resolved much faster with a little more public information, I hate being a nosy neighbor and definitely respect privacy, but general information should be accessible without involving the police, there has to be some sort of compromise between privacy, safety, and awareness. Send me a reply if anyone has any thoughts of counterpoints on the subject, I like to try and promote discussion and explore issues of importance, clearly there is always room for improvement and revision to the current system. I think most law enforcement would agree that most individuals are capable of making good decisions and if at any point they are needed (immediate threat, or moderately strange activity), its a citizens obligation to turn all the information over at that point. Neighborhood watches are great in my opinion too, the more eyes and ears you have, the better, I made it a point to introduce myself to everyone on my street, exchanged phone numbers, and we all agreed that if something seemed out of the ordinary we would let each other know, it was very uplifting to know that 95+ percent agreed and felt the same as myself, suburban areas with less dense population seem to be areas where crime is increasing, anyway I ranted, but I hope at least someone reads this and takes it to heart, or at least replies .. . :)

    • Tina
      March 28, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Hey Sam,

      I did read your comment, although the wall of text you left up there almost made me skip the comment. :)

      I see your point and at the same time I'm not sure I agree. I'm German and we have a troubled history in terms of privacy, especially in East Germany (Stasi). In the end, all information will also be misused, which is why privacy is so important. The US (NSA) already collects more data than the Stasi ever could. We don't need a comprehensive record of our data, including photos or other biometric data, available online to the public.

      I'm also not sure it's fair to publish criminal records, especially if the offender served their time. The system should focus on helping criminals become good members of society, rather than ruining their chance of ever living a normal life again. They should be able to contribute to society again and not be stigmatized for life. Of course the same (and more) should be done for the victims!

      Apparently Sweden is a model we should all look to: they have to shut down prisons because their rehabilitation program works wonders. Obviously, they don't have a death penalty; no European country does.

  2. Athaulla rahemaan
    March 16, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Search the person who looks like me

  3. Ella
    February 25, 2015 at 5:41 am

    apparently I am a 32 year old man (92% Male) I just happen to be a 12 year old girl....

  4. Joy
    February 21, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    What does the show "Catfish" use to find people from photo's?

  5. DevilDog13
    December 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Guy Fawkes masks will become the norm. Use them anywhere you publicly go to keep google off your back. I'm working on a polycarbonate prototye where the facets will reflect light at various angles. For google glass i think motion detection and laser attacks to the camera CCD

  6. Crystal(RB)
    June 11, 2010 at 3:05 am

    According to Pictriev, My 25 yr old tomboy self is 85% male and approximately 60 years old.
    Strangely enough, that explains a lot
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  7. Crystal(RB)
    June 11, 2010 at 1:05 am

    According to Pictriev, My 25 yr old tomboy self is 85% male and approximately 60 years old.
    Strangely enough, that explains a lot
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  8. Stacy
    June 2, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    These are pretty cool - I'll have to test Pictriev!

  9. Flavio
    May 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Come on PicTriev... thanks for making me look like Kevin Costner and a couple of other "good looking guys", but 45 years old when everyone tells me I look younger was not fair! :o)

    • Tina
      May 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      Try a few other pictures to fix the age. But then you may end up being matched to Danny DeVito. ;)

  10. SK
    May 23, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Its really good one

  11. Tina
    May 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Well, looks like the technology is not very advanced, yet. At least not the one they are offering for free. Could be a good thing.

  12. Elliott
    May 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    If it makes you feel any better - I had equally dodgy results from PicTriev (although it made me 100% male - it also made me 50 instead of the 30 I was in the photo!) and didn't find any matching photos (there are loads of photos of me online).

    I tried photos of my daughter and my ex and didn't find photos of them online either

  13. Elliott
    May 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    If it makes you feel any better - I had equally dodgy results from PicTriev (although it made me 100% male - it also made me 50 instead of the 30 I was in the photo!) and didn't find any matching photos (there are loads of photos of me online).

    I tried photos of my daughter and my ex and didn't find photos of them online either

    • Tina
      May 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      Well, looks like the technology is not very advanced, yet. At least not the one they are offering for free. Could be a good thing.

  14. Nat Jay
    May 21, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Viewdle looks like the best of the lot here, though I find the concept of face search both intriguing and a little intrusive.

    Of course, for research and background check, these are useful tools. Specially in law enforcement, government jobs, and the media & entertainment industries.

    On a related note, I like those fun apps that show how you might age over time (given a current picture), or to let others know how you used to look like say in school.

    • Sam Rothberg
      March 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Check my comment below, I agree with what your saying, its a fine line and a difficult subject all around, let me know if there are flaws in my logic, im always trying to form better opinions and stances of privacy / security issues, they seem to be the main debate of this time period, but I think there is a balance that can be acheived, Thanks

  15. Nat Jay
    May 21, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Viewdle looks like the best of the lot here, though I find the concept of face search both intriguing and a little intrusive.

    Of course, for research and background check, these are useful tools. Specially in law enforcement, government jobs, and the media & entertainment industries.

    On a related note, I like those fun apps that show how you might age over time (given a current picture), or to let others know how you used to look like say in school.

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