Facebook Gets a New Face(.com)

Facial recognition startup follows Instagram buy

Facebook has bought facial recognition startup Face.com. The company did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, but the deal is expected to close in the coming weeks. 

Facebook is keeping mum as to what the Face.com team will be working on, but it sounds like tagging photos on mobile might get a whole lot easier. A Face.com blog post announcing the acquisition called out mobile specifically as “a critical part of people’s lives as they both create and consume content, and share content with their social graph.”

Here’s what Facebook had to say, in a statement: “People who use Facebook enjoy sharing photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com’s technology has helped to provide the best photo experience. This transaction simply brings a world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house.”

Facebook has been getting pretty photo-happy in the past couple of months. First Facebook snatched up Instagram for $1 billion back in April. Then, while waiting for that deal to close, Facebook released its own camera app last month that, among other features, lets users tap a person in a photo in order to tag them. At the most basic level, Face.com’s integration could let users then see a drop-down menu with suggestions of whom an image’s subject is. Beyond that, Face.com could conceivably recognize people in a photo with whom a user is not Facebook friends and let the user to make a friend request. And further than that…well, there’s a lot Facebook could do with Face.com’s technology, especially after tossing in Instagram’s photo trove.

Face.com said it plans to continue supporting developers who use the startup’s facial recognition technology, and of course that technology allows for apps’ users to not only recognize and tag folks in photos but also share them to social networks like Facebook.