Sure, likes and even Facebook’s emoji reactions give users a good idea of what people think of their photos — but a new social network could take responses to an entirely new level, without even clicking. Polygram is a new photo-based social network that gauges user response using artificial intelligence to recognize facial expressions, tallying up responses based on a smile or frown.
Polygram, which launched on iOS over the weekend, shows users just how everyone responded to their photo by using facial recognition technology to identify different expressions through a smartphone’s front-facing camera. That means you can see how many people liked your photo, who found it shocking, and who really laughed out loud based not on how many people decide to click, but on actual expressions while viewing the photo.
Polygram then offers a breakdown of the responses, including the number of views, how long that shot made other users pause and even how many other users took a screenshot. User response can also be broken down by gender and location. The network doesn’t appear to list a user name with those responses however, showing a general tally but not who responded with what.
While emotional reactions form the basis of the new social network, Polygram isn’t just a one-trick network. The app also includes Snapchat-like facial filters and, along with the fun masks, there are also a handful of beauty masks that were actually designed by plastic surgeons, according to the developer.
The new network also offers a unique take on preventing those disappearing images from becoming screenshots for permanent existence with a wipe-to-reveal feature. Essentially, users wipe the touchscreen to reveal portions of the photo, almost like wiping the fog off the mirror after a hot shower. The feature means that the entire photo isn’t visible at once, adding a layer of security to the photos that aren’t meant to stick around for forever.
New social networks traditionally have a tough time gaining traction among giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat — after all, it’s not very social if none of your friends are on it yet. Moreover, most of the major social networks imitate other platforms (case in point: Snapchat Stories), which can also make breaking through tougher, even for networks with their own unique features.
Emotion-recognition technology is quickly expanding into new uses — Facebook even recently acquired a company called FacioMetrics that could present a similar feature, though Polygram says it already had its program under development at the time. Facebook recently patented several different ideas for gauging a user’s emotions, including using that front-facing camera and even the pressure and speed of users’ fingers pressing the touchscreen.
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