Face.com will shut down Klik and yank its free face recognition API post Facebook acquisition

facebook and the face.com apiConsumers haven’t exactly warmed up to face recognition technology, partially because we haven’t seen in executed in many forms we can use yet. There’s Facebook, with its auto-tagging feature (which works to varying degrees and hilariously tries to tell you that potted plant in the corner is your friend Becky), a handful of digital cameras that can recognize your subjects, as well as the iffy Android 4.0 feature that allows you to unlock your phone after it sees it’s truly you.

With the exception of Facebook’s tool, though, these are all rather niche products. But Klik, a free app with incredibly sophisticated technology and high face matching accuracy was easily consumable by anyone with an iPhone. And it can’t be said enough: Klik worked really well.

But now Klik is no more. Last month, Facebook bought Face.com, the development platform behind Klik as well as the Face.com API, which powers Klik, as well as a variety of other face recognition apps (rumored to be what’s under the hood of Facebook auto-tagging). The acquisition made a lot of sense because Facebook wants and needs to improve its own client, and it’s also making a harder push in photos and at the moment auto-tagging isn’t available via mobile uploads. The technology powering Klik will be introduced to Facebook’s Camera app and the whole system would be far more interesting (the Face.com API can read things like gender, mood, height, age, etc).

That’s all pretty obvious and easy to swallow – what isn’t particularly pleasing is that Klik has been shut down and with it the Face.com API made unavailable. Sometimes that happens with acquisitions, but this API was powering a lot of applications. Also, there’s the fact that in the wake of the Facebook deal, Face.com said it would continue to support its third party developers; TheNextWeb noticed the change in policy that came via email, where Face.com said the API will only be available for another month.

Understandably, developers are angry. For starters, Face.com said they’d do something and now they won’t. Secondly, the platform’s API is unique and there aren’t as any remarkable alternatives. Facebook is unlikely to license the technology, and that means developers are clamoring for something to take its place (interested parties, take note: this is in demand).

What’s interesting is considering how Facebook could leverage this. A friend new to Instagram and smartphones in general recently asked me how she could tag Facebook contacts in her Instagram photos she planned to push to Facebook – which, of course, you can’t. Perhaps this is something that will be available for popular photo apps down the road, complete with auto-tagging thanks to the Face.com API. Which, for all the inherent creepiness that we should have gotten over a long time ago, would be rather convenient. But it gives popular outside photo apps (and let’s remember that Facebook was notably spooked by one popular photo sharing app – a billion dollars sort of spooked – that was able to stand on its own two content heavy legs) a reason to prominently feature sharing the site in exchange for the API usage.

What the long term effects of the decision, it means that at the moment developers will soon be without an API for their applications. So anyone waiting in the wings with a Face.com alternative or the know-how to create and license face recognition technology, now would be a good time.  

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.
Movies & TV

Here's everything we know about 'John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum'

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum, the third installment of the wildly successful action series that stars Keanu Reeves as a deadly assassin forced out of retirement, hits theaters in May 2019. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.
Social Media

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. users don’t realize Facebook tracks their interests

Did you know Facebook tracks your interests, including political and multicultural affiliations? According to a recent Pew study, 74 percent of adult users in the U.S. have no idea Facebook keeps a running list of your interests.
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.