Facebook Today. Payment Biometrics Tomorrow?

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Viewdle puts facial recognition software onto the mobile handset. With fast algorithms, this compute-intensive task is now possible on the handset. Its first application is “tagging” of individual photographs with the names of those in the picture and posting that to Facebook. Given the investors in this startup, this is more than posting a picture of a friend with the right name “tag”. What are the biometric applications for this approach? If they can figure out a way to foil a spoof attack using a photograph in front of the camera, this might bring a strong measure of visual authentication to a POS or even an e-commerce payment.

Facial recognition startup Viewdle just raised $10 million from retailer Best Buy, chip maker Qualcomm, and the BlackBerry Partners Fund.

Chief Product Officer Jason Mitura said Viewdle stands out from other facial recognition companies in two ways. First, it’s focused on making its technology work using the limited hardware of a smartphone, not just on an online server. Second, competitors promising facial recognition on the phone haven’t delivered, Mitura said, whereas Viewdle has a real product that will be available for sale next year. (Competitor Polar Rose was recently acquired by Apple.)

What’s so great about being able to recognize faces on your phone? Viewdle’s technology will be built into your phone’s camera, Mitura said, so when you take a photo, the people in it will be tagged automatically. Then the photo can be posted automatically to sites like Facebook with all the tags already in place.”

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