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This article was published on February 24, 2010

    Stalk a Stranger. Point Your Phone At Their Face.

    Stalk a Stranger. Point Your Phone At Their Face.
    Matt Brian
    Story by

    Matt Brian

    Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him on Google+.

    recognizrSmartphone users might be aware of increase of Augmented Reality applications available on their phones, a technology that merges a real life visual environment with computer generated imagery.

    In a shift from the traditional Augmented Reality application, Swedish based mobile software firm The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) has realised a new potential for this technology, introducing an Android app called Recognizr, a software application that can report a persons social networking history by simply pointing your phones camera at them.

    Dan Gärdenfors, head of User Experience Research at TAT believes the application will take “social networking to the next level,” saying it’s an idea capable of “bridging the way people used to meet, in the real world, and the new Internet-based ways of congregating.”

    Recognizr works when the user points the camera at another person. Inbuilt face recognition software maps a 3D model of the subject and transmits the information to a remote server where it is matched with an identity already present in the database. This information is then sent back to the handset along with any relevant social networking information associated to that person, conveniently displayed above the persons head using little social icons.

    Essentially, the application potentially allows you to grab the social profile details of someone you liked the look of but couldn’t quite summon the courage to go and speak to.

    Before the anti-privacy people worry their collective little heads about the service, the database the application uses is opt-in only, a user must upload a photo and a profile to be identified by the system. The user must also associate any social networking profiles with the service, meaning there are no attempts at data mining to pull the requested data.

    The app is expected to available for both the iPhone and Android powered device (Recognizr was demoed on a Android powered handset sporting a 5MP camera).

    Gärdenfors notes that whilst TAT are still awaiting partnerships with mobile vendors, service providers and social networking sites, a commercial application could be ready in as little as two months.

    Recognizr In Action