Facebook’s “Context Album” using facial recognition

Think about this for a minute

  1. How many photos people take
  2. How many people are in all those photos unintentionally

There are a lot of scenarios where candid photos include people outside the intended subject of the photo. Think about photos in tourist areas, crowds at stadiums, shots of friends with lots of background, photos at night clubs or cafes or selfies.. The amount of people in photos is a n to n relationship. Now think about how many of those photos will include people that the photographer doesn’t know explicitly.


Facebook’s Deppface project has reported that it’s facial recognition software has the ability to match faces with varying conditions such as light and angle to a 97.25% accuracy. That’s astoundingly good.

Unfortunately all Facebook can do with this technology is detect and suggest faces and people when Facebook users upload their photos. A pretty straightforward use of this technology.

Think of this interesting use case… what if Facebook released a feature that can detect a user’s face in all of Facebook’s photos. Think of it like this

  • User requests that Facebook finds all photos where it can recognise the users face
  • Facebook scans all it’s photos, finds matches
  • Facebook sends notification to the photo’s uploader to allow this person to a) see the photo and b) approve tagging this person (Should they request it)
  • Facebook can produce a small infographic of how many photos it’s found, how many the user can see, varying degrees of accuracy etc.
  • User can then see the plethora of photos that were taken of them unintentionally or otherwise

In essence this allows Facebook users to find photos of themselves that others have taken in whatever scenario it may have been. Imagine how many photos will be returned (Of course this depends on so many factors) of each user. The “Context Album”.

There are privacy and people issues in the mix here which Facebook’s product marketing will have to deal with but technologically it’s definitely possible now.

What are your thoughts? Would you use this feature and would you allow Facebook to tell others that they are in your photos?