Face recognition is a bit of a sore topic at the moment, following the recent controversy/storm-in-a-teacup over Facebook’s Tag Suggestions feature. Startup Viewdle, which specialises in visual analysis, isn’t concerned though and today it’s bringing face recognition to mobile gaming.
Third Eye is a game which takes the form of a massively multiplayer, steampunk adventure in a world where vampires and humans are at war. The game is set over three episodes. Part one, which launches today, first runs some facial analysis on their players to determine whether a each is a human or a vampire. This is entirely based on their face’s characteristics and determines which ‘side’ each player is on. The player must then check the human/vampire status of others they meet, building up legions of allies and enemies along the way.
Viewdle is keeping tight-lipped about exactly what’s next for Third Eye players, but the game is an interesting side-step for the company which first emerged with SocialCamera, an automatic way of tagging friends in Facebook photos, as you take the picture.
The company has much more planned for the future, based on its image recognition technology. However, Chief Product Officer, Jason Mitura isn’t concerned about the recent wave of privacy concerns around such applications. He explained to me this week that Viewdle’s algorithms are all carried out on a user’s device. This means that images are never sent back to a server for processing. He pointed out that no-one was concerned by Apple’s iPhoto face recognition as it’s done entirely on the computer. – it’s only cloud-based recognition such as Facebook’s that worries people. “We have much better recognition than Facebook, too,” he adds.
With roots in Kiev, Ukraine, Viewdle is now based in San Francisco but still has a team of developers in eastern Europe. Third Eye is available today.