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Moments - Facebook's Facial Recognition App

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Facebook have been fiddling around with facial recognition technology in the background for the past few years, but now it looks like they're starting to properly implement it. Moments, their latest standalone app, will scroll through all the photos on your phone and bundle together all the ones featuring a particular person's face. The app then gives you the option to send the collection of images directly to the person who appears in them. You can also create collaborative private albums, like say if a group of people who all went on a night out or on holiday together all have different pictures. Again, totally private.

The app was very quietly slipped into public availability yesterday, with little more than a short news room announcement (complete with an informative but nauseatingly cutesy animated trailer). Facebook have actually been playing around with more advanced forms of facial recognition for some time, with 'DeepFace' being the flagship example, but this is the first time the technology has really been openly and publically distributed, rather than just being snuck in as an update to the main platform.

The move is likely a means of testing the water to see how people respond to more advanced tagging technology. If the app goes viral, it could start a very real revolution in how photos are taken and shared. There won't be any need for everyone to get a picture of the same group shot on their individual phones and if a group of people get separated during, say, a music festival, Moments will provide a way to create a comprehensive album of everything that happened, regardless of who was and wasn't there.

That's if it takes off, of course, but I can't see any reason why it won't. The beauty of the facial recognition component is that it's just accounting for something that you could do yourself in order to save you some time. It's not intrusively trawling through pictures and tagging people who would rather remain untagged, if you're using Moments, you know exactly which photos you're after and for what purpose. Any encroachment on somebody else's privacy is on you.

Moments also accounts for something that you can do via Facebook, but in a hideously unintuitive way. Corralling all the right people into a group or making a specific list is time consuming, clunky and it requires other people to commit. Moments makes it as simple as a few taps. Sharing photos privately has become a bit of a lost art, largely on account of Facebook itself, so it's nice to see them pulling in the other direction.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Moments - Facebook's Facial Recognition App Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 Rating: 5

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