Facebook recently acquired Face.com, a facial recognition software company that proudly promotes its ability to make accurate facial identifications in spite of hurdles like poor lighting and focus, variations in facial hair, and even Halloween costumes. The biggest social network has officially placed its bet on facial recognition technology—but what does it mean for you and your digital identity?
First, this move is yet more proof that we’re shifting to an image-based web. Other indicators of this include the popularity of viral lists composed largely of images (One BuzzFeed list received almost 9 million views in just 30 days) and, of course, the fact that Pinterest has become the fastest standalone site to pass 10 million users. The days of a purely text-based Internet are behind us.
Second, the tagging and tracking of photos will be significantly easier in the near future. For Facebook users, tagging photos will be simpler (MUCH simpler from a mobile phone), so your friends will be able to tag you more quickly in a higher volume of photos. Face.com’s technology will allow Facebook to tie your likeness more closely to your name, and therefore to the rest of the personal data contained in the social network’s vaults about you. Your digital footprint will grow, so the onus is on you to proactively manage your online identity and ensure that it paints an accurate picture about you.
Finally, your media—not only the pictures tagged of you—matters more than ever. Your pictures speak volumes, and so do the videos you share, and even the music you groove to (by the way, Pinterest now supports them all). The photos you share on Instagram strengthen the association between your name and the topics you highlight in hashtags. Videos you appear in can add to your credibility in a given vertical, and the ones you record or share online give you a more human dimension by building links to your personal passions.
A picture will soon be worth 1 million words, not just 1,000. How will pictures enhance your digital persona on that Web?