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Apple acquires Swedish face recognition company - rumor

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
Apple is rumored to have bought a Swedish company that has created technology for facial recognition, which could allow for software and devices to recognize unique users.

Update: According to TechCrunch, the deal was made for $29 million. Neither party has confirmed the acquisition, however.

According to Norwegian website Mac1.no, Apple has purchased Polar Rose (Google translation), a company that specializes in facial recognition. The company offers a number of products based on its technology, including FaceCloud, which allows facial recognition for Web services, and FaceLib, which brings the functionality to mobile phones.

One of the company's products, dubbed Recognizr, could take a photo of a user and recognize that same person when shown on video. In a video demonstration, the application places social networking sites associated with that person around their face when seen via a mobile phone's video camera.

Polar Rose is a small company with less than 20 employees. Its technology came from research conducted in two universities located in southern Sweden.

Earlier this month, on its official blog, Polar Rose announced it would no longer offer free end-user face detection and recognition services. The service allowed users to tag their Facebook friends in Flickr photos.

"The service got quite a few users interested and this in turn led to interest by larger companies in licensing our technology," Polar Rose's Thijs Stalenhoef said. "This meant refocusing and that left our free service out in the cold. Although we did try to keep it up to date, this became harder and harder over time, as our licensing business accelerated."



Apple has its own "Faces" technology featured in its iPhoto and Aperture applications. Faces uses face detection and recognition to find and organize photos by the people in them.

In addition, Apple has shown interest in having its devices identify users using a camera and facial recognition technology. In January, before the iPad was announced, The Wall Street Journal revealed that an early prototype of the device would use a camera to recognize users' faces, allowing it to be one device easily shared by the entire family.

Apple reportedly experimented with the ability to customize the device, and have it automatically switch to a user's personal settings once they picked it up. One early feature included virtual "sticky notes" that one user could leave for another, and would be read the next time they picked up the iPad.

The feature did not end up in the iPad, which lacks a camera in its first-generation version. However, the company is believed to be aggressively pursuing a new iPad equipped with a forward facing camera for FaceTime video chat.
post #2 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


One of the company's products, dubbed Recognizr, could take a photo of a user and recognize that same person when shown on video.


I will never allow such a device to be anywhere in my direct line of sight. It is bad enough that Apple is working on the other spyware previously announced. But this shit is WAY too scary for me.

Next thing you know, Apple will "offer" to "store" your fingerprints to "help" with "security". DNA samplers built into the keyboard?
post #3 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

I will never allow such a device to be anywhere in my direct line of sight. It is bad enough that Apple is working on the other spyware previously announced. But this shit is WAY too scary for me.

Next thing you know, Apple will "offer" to "store" your fingerprints to "help" with "security". DNA samplers built into the keyboard?

Faces is completely optional, turn it on in iLife, or don't.

What are you so paranoid about? Something to hide?
post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Faces is completely optional, turn it on in iLife, or don't.

What are you so paranoid about? Something to hide?

Why don't you sign your post with your full name and home address, nkhm?
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by habermas View Post

Why don't you sign your post with your full name and home address, nkhm?

And then post a pic of your wife and kids.

Not.
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

And then post a pic of your wife and kids.

Not.

Oh yeah, but we're doing this with Google already anyway. It's storing all my contacts, with their associated photos, so I'm essentially giving them a free pass on my privacy. Apple can't really be worse.
post #7 of 58
This doesn't sound good to me at all. What's the point of only recognising Swedish faces? They are only a tiny percentage of the overall population. What about the rest of us?
post #8 of 58
The iPad could definitely do with accounts, much more so than the iPhone. And logging in with your face would be much more secure than with a password.

Though if/once it comes out, I wonder how long before someone posts a YouTube video of them holding up a photo of someone in front of an iPad and it accepting the login.
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The iPad could definitely do with accounts, much more so than the iPhone. And logging in with your face would be much more secure than with a password.

Though if/once it comes out, I wonder how long before someone posts a YouTube video of them holding up a photo of someone in front of an iPad and it accepting the login.

More secure? Really? Most people have pictures of them on Facebook, making it trivial to hack into a device if you knew who owned it.

I'm sure there's some clever stuff you could do to detect movement and try to be sure you're seeing a 3D face, but all in all, I'd say face recognition is pretty insecure.
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Apple reportedly experimented with the ability to customize the device, and have it automatically switch to a user's personal settings once they picked it up. One early feature included virtual "sticky notes" that one user could leave for another, and would be read the next time they picked up the iPad.

Unlocking your iPhone/iPad using this would be nice too. This could also be useful in MacBooks and iMacs since they all already have iSight.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This doesn't sound good to me at all. What's the point of only recognising Swedish faces? They are only a tiny percentage of the overall population. What about the rest of us?

You are one dry mofo.
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Oh yeah, but we're doing this with Google already anyway. It's storing all my contacts, with their associated photos, so I'm essentially giving them a free pass on my privacy. Apple can't really be worse.

We?

Speak for yourself.
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

We?

Speak for yourself.

I know, right? I don't even store my contacts in Address Book since Apple added 3rd party API access to it. They are in a plain text file on an encrypted disk image.
post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by habermas View Post

Why don't you sign your post with your full name and home address, nkhm?

Because I prefer not to. It's an option.

Like faces in iLife

Understand?
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Oh yeah, but we're doing this with Google already anyway. It's storing all my contacts, with their associated photos, so I'm essentially giving them a free pass on my privacy. Apple can't really be worse.

Google didn't put this ability into everyone's hands through their Android smartphones yet as evidenced by their decision to not put facial recognition into their Goggles application.

If Apple decides to implement facial recognition on the iphone based on a massive index of identified faces then yes it will become quite a lot worse.
post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

And then post a pic of your wife and kids.

Not.

Utterly irrelevant.

You're suggesting that Apple will obtain access to my private photo collection, see the name tags and then somehow use this information? That is not being proposed.

Faces is really useful and has helped to sort years of family photo's. I also have my name and address on my computer, and at my local blockbuster. I also have a passport and a bank account and a credit card. Care to explain what information apple is storing that any of the latter do not?

If a private (non government) company has access to my information, it is because I have supplied it.

I have no problem with this, at all.

I also don't see what Apple are doing that is so different to any other company on the planet?
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Because I prefer not to. It's an option.


Got something to hide?
post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

U
You're suggesting that Apple will obtain access to my private photo collection, see the name tags and then somehow use this information?

Nope. But thanks for playing.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Because I prefer not to. It's an option.

Like faces in iLife

Understand?

I don't think you understand the potential ramifications of this technology. Look up "Google Goggles" and then tell me where to find the option toggle preventing you from being facially recognised by a million smartphone users in a reality where Polarrose's facial recognition technology is linked to a massive index of facebook identities or similar.
post #20 of 58
Just in case anyone else wants to start wrapping their head in tinfoil. Facial recognition in video and motion/pattern tracking as already employed by most law enforcement agencies, it's nothing new.

The ability to automatically tag video as you already can do with photo's will be a useful option.

Not some plot to take over the world.
post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Faces is really useful and has helped to sort years of family photo's. I also have my name and address on my computer, and at my local blockbuster. I also have a passport and a bank account and a credit card. Care to explain what information apple is storing that any of the latter do not?

I don't see how your examples of yesterday's functionality is in any way reassuring relative to how this recently acquired technology may turn out to be implemented in the future.
post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

I will never allow such a device to be anywhere in my direct line of sight. It is bad enough that Apple is working on the other spyware previously announced. But this shit is WAY too scary for me.

Next thing you know, Apple will "offer" to "store" your fingerprints to "help" with "security". DNA samplers built into the keyboard?

So you better stay away from the US and a number of other countries. At the immigration office they do this kind of thing regularly since years. And at least during the Bush administration, I certainly would have trusted apple a godzillion times more. Still I didn't mind to pas by.
post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by habermas View Post

I don't think you understand the potential ramifications of this technology. Look up "Google Goggles" and then tell me where to find the option toggle preventing you from being facially recognised by a million smartphone users in a reality where Polarrose's facial recognition technology is linked to a massive index of facebook identities or similar.

Yes, I do.

I understand that whenever a new technology is introduced it has the potential to be used in a 'bad' way. That doesn't mean that I have a ridiculous paranoid knee-jerk reaction at every announcement.

There is a RUMOUR that Apple may have bought this company.

And from that, you're suggesting that Apple want to take over the world, and monitor your every move.

Bit of a leap?
post #24 of 58
So this app will allow me to recognize the people I am friends with? Ooooo.... Interesting.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Just in case anyone else wants to start wrapping their head in tinfoil. Facial recognition in video and motion/pattern tracking as already employed by most law enforcement agencies, it's nothing new.

The ability to automatically tag video as you already can do with photo's will be a useful option.

Not some plot to take over the world.

Quite right. The potential here for security apps to be used by law enforcement or even businesses with security concerns could be mind-bogglingly huge. OK, devs... Let's start seeing those $5,000 apps!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinolo View Post

So this app will allow me to recognize the people I am friends with? Ooooo.... Interesting.

I suspect it will be able to tell you which friends appear in a video, without you having to watch the video, which is very interesting.
post #27 of 58
Apple bought this company for one reason, and one reason only:

The ability for the computer to automatically recognize who is in your movies, compare that information with your Facebook (or Ping) account, and automatically remove those who are not your "friends".

One sole purpose, and that's it.
Go Linux, Choose a Flavor!
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Go Linux, Choose a Flavor!
"I aim to misbehave"
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post #28 of 58
According to Mac1 this program has been available both for iPhone and Android.
From what I could see it looked more like a video version of the face recognition in iPhoto - with the added benefit that it can be added to online sites like MobileMe. Wouldn't make me too paranoid to use it, considering the far more advanced face recognition technologies already in use by governmetns and big corps.
post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post

Apple bought this company for one reason, and one reason only:

The ability for the computer to automatically recognize who is in your movies, compare that information with your Facebook (or Ping) account, and automatically remove those who are not your "friends".

One sole purpose, and that's it.

Well it's able to analyse a video feed in real time, so how about the applications of this for game control also?

Your statement of fact seems a little short sighted...
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by habermas View Post

I don't see how your examples of yesterday's functionality is in any way reassuring relative to how this recently acquired technology may turn out to be implemented in the future.

I trust Apple to move from the outside in on your face.

Google's business model is essentially based on having a take on your face from the inside out; your facial expression just makes a fair deal out of "rob-a-thought".
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

I will never allow such a device to be anywhere in my direct line of sight. It is bad enough that Apple is working on the other spyware previously announced. But this shit is WAY too scary for me.

Next thing you know, Apple will "offer" to "store" your fingerprints to "help" with "security". DNA samplers built into the keyboard?

A little paranoid, are we?
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The iPad could definitely do with accounts, much more so than the iPhone. And logging in with your face would be much more secure than with a password.

Though if/once it comes out, I wonder how long before someone posts a YouTube video of them holding up a photo of someone in front of an iPad and it accepting the login.

"Good morning, master Jones. I'm afraid I cannot give you access to your Dad's, ahem, protected photographs. Would you like me to open any other folder?"
post #33 of 58
None of us here knows what and how Apple will use this for and you all are freaking out already..
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I know, right? I don't even store my contacts in Address Book since Apple added 3rd party API access to it. They are in a plain text file on an encrypted disk image.

Mmmmhm exactly and each time before I plug my computer to the net, I perform a full secure hard disc reformatting.
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Mmmmhm exactly and each time before I plug my computer to the net, I perform a full secure hard disc reformatting.

It's not about paranoia, it's about respecting other people. If they have trusted you with their contact information you should be careful with it.
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruff. Peebudy View Post

Thees duesn't suoond guud tu me-a et ell. Vhet's zee pueent ooff oonly recugneesing Svedeesh feces? Zeey ere-a oonly a teeny percentege-a ooff zee ooferell pupooleshun. Vhet ebuoot zee rest ooff us?

Bork! Bork! Bork!
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by theAppleMan912 View Post

I await the day when my iMac says. Welcome, Dexter. How are you today.

Sounds great, except that my name is not Dexter.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

It's not about paranoia, it's about respecting other people. If they have trusted you with their contact information you should be careful with it.

Sorry I was thinking you were sarcastic. Sure one has to be careful with personal data but the 3rd party access to the address book is important to give their apps some useful functionality and not to spy on you. BTW data protection at apple is a big issue. I think it's pretty difficult to slip in an application that effectively is able to spy on your address book and send any information gathered back to the app producer. Isn't this completely against the SDK guidelines?
post #39 of 58
Sounds like tech that'll go in a rev of iPhoto or Aperture. Would be nice for the iPhone too.
post #40 of 58
Mods, please do something about this guy.

All his posts are typically: one-liners, put-downers, combative, surly, and simply detract from the flow of a decent conversation. And, it's the same, tiresome anti-Apple cr4p 24/7 (yeah, the guy also seems to post 24/7).

It's almost as though teckstud took a class in punctuation and came back to haunt us.

Please. Enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

I will never allow such a device to be anywhere in my direct line of sight. It is bad enough that Apple is working on the other spyware previously announced. But this shit is WAY too scary for me.

Next thing you know, Apple will "offer" to "store" your fingerprints to "help" with "security". DNA samplers built into the keyboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

And then post a pic of your wife and kids.

Not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

We?

Speak for yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

Got something to hide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

Nope. But thanks for playing.
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