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Apple patent uses facial recognition technology for photo-sharing


Apple has filed a patent for its new facial recognition technology that automatically shares photographs with the subjects being captured, according to a report by Tech Crunch.

The patent entitled “Systems and methods for sending digital images”, covers technology similar to the recently launched Facebook Moments app, which uses facial recognition software to help distribute photos to the people in them.

Originally filed in February 2014 but published this week, the patent describes the different methods of simplifying the photo-sharing process by linking faces to contact data, as well as using facial recognition technology.

The patented technology builds on Apple’s use of facial recognition tech to help users identify and group their photos, by describing ways to link contact data to identified faces and providing alternative ways for sharing photos with people in them via email or SMS.

The patent describes multiple contact-linking and photo-sharing methods, including enabling users to manually associate contact info with faces, as well as post to social networks in order to distribute the photos.

Apple notes that the associated database linking facial recognition info with individuals’ contact details could be stored locally or in the cloud:

“Facial recognition algorithms may identify the faces of one or more people in a digital image. Multiple types of communication may be available for the different people in the digital image… The facial recognition data for the face may be stored in association with the name and address for the face,” Apple describes in the patent application.

If Apple decides to use the facial recognition system for photo distribution, it could be challenging for the company to implement cloud-based processing or store private user info, considering its pro-privacy stance.

Previously reported, Apple was granted a US patent that covers a new technology that enables users to unlock future iPhones by taking a selfie.

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