3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces
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Wherever you go, your face exposes you. Facial recognition How Facial Recognition is Invading your Privacy How Facial Recognition is Invading your Privacy Is facial recognition -- a staple of science fiction for the past 50 years -- really a means of oppression, part of a surveillance state and a form of control? Or is it more useful... Read More in combination with surveillance cameras is a powerful tool that can track your every step.

Search engines are becoming ever smarter in managing massive amounts of data. Face search and facial recognition are just a few of many tools that target individuals. All public data combined, they can 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.

1. Google Images Search — Reverse Face Search

Did you know that you could search Google by images? Rather than a keyword, you can use an image to search for similar images. Click the camera icon to search by image. You can either paste the image URL or upload an image and Google will find similar images.

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces Google Images Search

Moreover, you can make Google search for faces only by adding a small bit of code. When you go to Google Images Search, enter your query, hit Enter, and then add “&imgtype=face” (without the quotes of course), either to the end of the search URL or right before another string starting with &. This will further improve the results of your face-related search.

Below is a before and after example that you can try for yourself:

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces Face Search

Google also offers its face recognition in Google Photos How to Make Google Photos Work for You with These Tips How to Make Google Photos Work for You with These Tips Google Photos could be the much-awaited solution to manage all your photos. But is it the best among all online photo sharing sites? Read More .

2. PicTriev — Face Recognition

PicTriev goes one step further by actually searching for similar faces. Unfortunately, the feature is limited to look-alike celebrities.

What you do is add the URL or upload a photo in JPG or JPEG format, with a size no larger than 200 KB, and the search engine will return matching celebrity images found online.

For demonstration purposes, I used my own headshot. While PicTriev correctly identified me as overwhelmingly female, the number one match was Jason Clarke. The age estimation of 30, however, is very flattering.

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces PicTriev

It works much better if you search for a celebrity image.

PicTriev also lets you compare the similarity of two faces or estimate whether photos of two faces are the same person. Click the meter icon in the top right, upload two photos, select similarity or identity, and let PicTriev do its calculations.

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces PicTriev Identity

Before you add photos, be sure to follow the instructions on formatting for best results.

3. FindFace — Face Search for VK.com

VK.com is Russia’s largest social network. And FindFace promises to find anybody on VK.com. To test this service, log into your VK account, grant the app permissions, and upload a JPG or PNG photo no larger than 5 MB.

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces FindFace

You can fine-tune the initial result by gender, age, location, and relationship status.

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces VK Result

In my case, it did find several surprising look-a-likes, but nothing too crazy.

Meanwhile, Russian photographer Egor Tsvetkov used FindFace for an art project that he termed Your Face Is Big Data. He took photos of strangers on the subway, found them on VK.com using FindFace, and learned a whole lot about their identity that they might never have told him, had he simply asked. The project highlights how invasive a simple photo can be How the War on Terror Is Affecting Your Online Privacy How the War on Terror Is Affecting Your Online Privacy The War on Terror is impacting your online privacy. The line in the sand between right and wrong continues to widen. Here's how your privacy is being infringed, supposedly in the fight against terror. Read More .

Bonus 1: Betaface — Facial Recognition Demo

Betaface offers facial recognition similar to PicTriev’s photo identification. You can upload an image or send the image URL and the face search engine will isolate and characterize all the faces it can identify in the photo.

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces Betaface Recognition

Next, you can compare faces (with other images you uploaded), search celebrities, or search Wikipedia for each recognized face. The results will appear in the Face recognition matches table.

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces Betaface Search

This tool is useful for uploading and comparing photos in bulk. In addition to classifying faces based on 101 pro facial points, you can also enable extended geometric and color measurements, as well as a “best face only” feature. Both of these slow down the processing, but will increase the quality of your matches.

Bonus 2: TwinsOrNot.net — Face Similarity

Similar to PicTriev’s similarity feature, TwinsOrNot.net will estimate how likely it is that the two photos you upload are showing twins. This tool is powered by Microsoft.

I tested TwinsOrNot.net with two photos of myself that were taken five years apart. And it wasn’t to be fooled. Rather than identifying me as a twin of myself, TwinsOrNot.net guessed that I must be the same person. Great catch!

3 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces TwinsOrNot

Interestingly, the site highlighted a small section of the photos to underscore its decision.

What Does Your Face Reveal?

Face recognition and search tools have a range of useful applications. Not only can they help the police identify suspects from security camera footage. They can also help professional photographers or media companies index visual material and build large and easy to search archives. Moreover, face recognition can replace passwords How to Log Into Windows 10 With Finger Scans & Facial Recognition How to Log Into Windows 10 With Finger Scans & Facial Recognition Instead of using a password or PIN, you might be better off using fingerprint scans or facial recognition! But there are a few risks associated with them. Here's what you need to know. Read More and keys.

But there’s a dark side to every tool. Not too long ago, the Facezam viral marketing scam highlighted what face recognition could do to your privacy. The creators of the app claimed that — within seconds — you could find anyone’s Facebook profile by uploading a picture of their face. Essentially, FindFace for Facebook.

While such an app violates Facebook’s privacy policies, Facebook itself uses facial recognition Facebook Privacy: 25 Things The Social Network Knows About You Facebook Privacy: 25 Things The Social Network Knows About You Facebook knows a surprising amount about us – information we willingly volunteer. From that information you can be slotted into a demographic, your "likes" recorded and relationships monitored. Here are 25 things Facebook knows about... Read More to identify people in photos (unless you disabled the feature Facebook Photo Privacy Settings You Need To Know About Facebook Photo Privacy Settings You Need To Know About As with everything regarding privacy on Facebook, managing your photos' privacy settings isn't always easy. Read More ). And presumably, Facebook’s face search engine is better than the FBI’s identification tool. Why? Because you’ve been voluntarily stuffing Facebook’s database with a huge variety of photos, all helping its AI improve faster than the FBI could ever dream of. And it’s all legal.

While you can’t always hide your face, you can protect your privacy online Why Online Privacy Matters and 5 Ways to Reclaim It Why Online Privacy Matters and 5 Ways to Reclaim It Privacy threats are all around us. Today, the impact and dangers of online privacy breaches are major. These few resources explain the pitfalls clearly and concisely. Read More . How do you keep your face private?

Image Credit: Zapp2Photo via Shutterstock

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  1. Jack
    October 30, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Just a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great style and design. “The price one pays for pursuing a profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.” by James Arthur Baldwin.

    wretye5ryabcd.com

  2. Jack
    October 27, 2017 at 4:48 am

    wretye5ryabcd.com

  3. kees
    September 12, 2017 at 11:34 am

    adding "&imgtype=face" without quotes, makes no difference whatsoever.
    But maybe you were a bit unclear on where to add it. If you upload a pic to google and hit enter, it comnes back with some matches and a best guess like 'hair' or 'bikini'or whatever. adding &imgtype=face behind the enormeously long URL makes no difference whatsoever

  4. 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.

      • Virginia Albin
        November 20, 2016 at 11:30 am

        Just really love your comment above!

      • Barrett Abney
        January 24, 2017 at 6:21 pm

        Tina, you actually set up the argument against your own points.
        If the NSA (government) already HAS the very complete, personal database, then your privacy is already NOT safe. If the public also has access to the facial database, then your privacy is not in further danger since it is already compromised by the most dangerous organization on the planet, government. If all people have the same access as the government, then the government should have no access. But that is an impossibility in todays liberally minded day and age.

        • Tina Sieber
          January 25, 2017 at 10:52 am

          I'm not sure I follow your comment, Barrett. Are you saying all information should be public, so that the government cannot cherry-pick the "facts" that serve them? That sounds pretty liberal to me.

        • Barrett Abney
          January 27, 2017 at 9:37 pm

          Tina,
          As long as humans with corrupt hearts are involved, then no one agency or organization should have individual power over information collected about anyone online. Please realize, anything you put online IS public. There is no online privacy. It is a pipe dream to think it exists. So all information is already in the public realm since it is all hackable. The only factor is will it be hacked today or tomorrow or next week...

          So I am saying, do not allow the government to collect and MAKE PRIVATE it's "lists" of information. What they are collecting, how they are collecting it and for what purpose is all moot and you will never be able to change them from doing what they do. But we should all have the same ability to look up a person's face and name in an online, public arena.

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

    Search the person who looks like me

  6. 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....

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

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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

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

  12. 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. ;)

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

    Its really good one

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.