Real-time Google Glass app can ID people using facial recognition

Credit: Google

We've said it many times and we'll say it again: Google Glass is both wonderfully great and terrifying at the same time. When used for good, Glass has the potential to provide all kinds of occupations with innovative features that take advantage of its camera. But at the same time, some jerk can use Glass and become a real creep.

While anyone can clearly see you're wearing Glass, it's not always apparent to outsiders if you're recording video or taking pictures of them. (We tech geeks will know because we'll see the screen is turned on but most people don't know that.) Stealthy photography/video recording is one of the benefits Glass, but one feature that Google has publicly stated it won't allow in official Glass apps (Glassware) is facial recognition — even if it could be used by doctors and hospital staff — because it's too dangerous.

For obvious privacy reasons, allowing facial recognition on Glass would only make the wearable creepy to the public. But whether Google likes it or not, there will always be hackers entrepeneurs that mean business. Case in point: FacialNetwork's Google Glass app "NameTag", which can scan faces and try to find a match in a compiled database of over 2.5 million faces.

With the NameTag app loaded up, Glass's camera can do two things: 1) scan a photo or 2) scan a person's face. If a match is found, NameTag will display info such as a person's social network profiles, interests, relationship status, occupation, etc.

As you can see in the video demo NameTag below, the app is able to identify Kanye West from a photo and is sophisticated enough to recognize a person even if they're wearing a hat or Google Glass to partially obscure their face/head.

While the app is obviously a good way for people to meet new people and hook up (the company is "currently creating technology to allow the scanning of profile from dating sites such as, and"), FacialNetwork also plans to have it work to ID people that are registered sex offenders or criminals. The latter would be especially useful for law enforcement. Heck, the New York Police Department is already beta-testing a few pairs of Glass to see how they can be used to track down criminals. It's unclear if the NYPD is using any kind of facial recognition apps, though. But we wouldn't be surprised if they are.

It's a brave new world out there guys. Stay safe and wear sunglasses or something to hide your face if you prefer to fly under the radar undetected. Or maybe just stop sharing so much about yourself on social networks so there's little info to compile on you in the first place!

Via NameTag

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