Google’s Facial Recognition App Found Falsified by CNN [Update: CNN statement]

Mar 31, 2011
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Google’s Facial Recognition App Found Falsified by CNN [Update: CNN statement]

Google has just reached out to us to let us know that CNN has reported entirely false information on what they're calling a Google Facial Recognition app. In fact, as Google tells us, there is no such app, and any functionality like what CNN has reported on will not be implemented in any Google application until they've got full privacy policy and more in place. Google's privacy model for this functionality is currently not in place, nor have they reported or noted when this will be complete.

In a disappointing bit of reporting by CNN, there's been a story written up saying that Google is "introducing a mobile application" that will recognize the face of the user and store said data. The official word we've been told firsthand from Google is the following:

"We are NOT "introducing a mobile application" (as the CNN piece claims) and as we've said for over a year, we would NOT add face recognition to any app like Goggles unless there was a strong privacy model in place. A number of items “reported” in the story, such as a potential app connecting phone numbers, email addresses and other information with a person’s face, are purely speculative and are inventions of the reporter."

We hope that this situation will encourage CNN to improve their research department and report more responsibly in the future.

Update: CNN has given us a statement, in which they stand by their report and claim to have a recording of a Google staffer discussing the app intentions:

"Google’s claims do not fit the facts of the situation. This interview was prearranged – on the record – and staffed by a Google PR rep, who raised no objections at the time and did not deny what the engineer said. Additionally, we have an audio recording of the interview, as does Google. We stand firmly behind Mark’s reporting." CNN spokesperson


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