Facebook Tests New Photo Tagging with Divvyshot Face Detection

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-07-02

Facebook is applying the face detection and photo-tagging technology it adapted from its purchase of startup Divvyshot to its social network.

Facebook Photos Product Manager Sam Odio, founder of Divvyshot, said July 1 some Facebook users will see a box inviting them to "Tag a Friend."

Unlike with Facebook's previous tagging technology, users won't need to select a face. When users upload photos, faces are already selected as if they were being targeted by a digital camera. Users can just type a name and click enter.

Odio provides a sample of this tagging box in this blog post.

Facebook said it believes tagging and face detection make the Website's photo-sharing capabilities more efficient at a time when 99 percent of the nearly 500 million Facebook users have uploaded at least one photo.

While it's true Facebook users may just upload their profile picture, Odio claimed that more than 100 million photos are uploaded daily on Facebook. Moreover, many people spend their time uploading, browsing and tagging photos.

"People love tagging their friends and family in photos, but we've heard that it can be a tedious process," Odio explained. "You now can add tags with just a couple of clicks directly from your home page and other sections of the site, using the same face detection technology that cameras have used for years."

Odio, who said the technology is in a limited test and that users may not see it yet, noted that the tagging feature is just one of the improvements he and his team will make to Facebook Photos. New browsing and uploading utilities are also on the way.

Facebook acquired Divvyshot as a talent acquisition in April. The startup's technology grouped its 40,000 users' photos into collections called "events," allowing multiple people to contribute to one so that users didn't have to publish pictures as separate albums.

Facebook said it would apply Divvyshot's approach to online photo sharing to its Facebook Photos service, which, while it received a speed increase and a refresh as part of the company's homepage redesign, was still lacking. The new tagging functionality shows the fruits of Odio's labor.

Web photo technologies are crucial for any Internet company catering to consumers with a social bent. Google acquired photo editing service Picnik in March.

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