Google likes to lead from the front when it comes to the practical application of sophisticated technology. Goggles is no exception, a nifty little programme for people with smart phones that uses Googles massive image library and fast developing image recognition system.
If you want to know about what’s in front of you, be it a landmark, painting, tree, restaurant or whatever, just take a picture and pop it into the Goggles image search, and a few moments later up comes all the information. At the launch Google’s VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra gave a demonstration by taking a picture of a bottle of wine, up came the results with tasting notes, including that this vintage had a hint of apricots. It can also ‘read’ other printed images, such as book jackets and bar codes.
The problem is that it can also recognize faces.
Take picture of someone in the street and it has the ability to pull together all the information about that person from the internet … and with millions of people increasingly living their lives online, the possibilities of abuse are enormous.
Anthony House from Google said: “We do have the relevant facial recognition technology at our disposal … But we haven’t implemented this on Google Goggles because we want to consider the privacy implications and how this feature might be added responsibly.”
Facebook has also upgraded its security this week, prompting users not to display personal information to the public.
The moral of these stories is simple, if you don’t want your details to fall into the wrong hands don’t post them on the internet.