One of the fastest-growing Facebook groups this year must be for people whose companies have been acquired by the social network. Following Instagram, Facebook acquired loyalty app Tagtile, proximity network Glancee, photo sharing service Lightbox, social gifting app Karma, and, this week, facial recognition platform Face.com. The last one’s a fascinating company with cutting-edge technology for marketers and publishers, as well as a new consumer-facing iPhone app, Klik, that can learn to recognize friends’ faces based on their Facebook profiles.
What could Facebook do with Face.com? Here are 10 possibilities. Note that these are all what could be done, rather than what should or will happen.
1) Suggest faces to tag in friends’ photos on Facebook, rather than requiring users to manually tag everyone.
2) Target ads to people based on the facial expressions in their Facebook photos. Also allow Facebook page updates to be targeted to fans’ facial expressions. For instance, Virgin Atlantic could target special offers to people whose photos make them look so serious that they need a vacation.
3) Offer an option of logging into Facebook using your face rather than your username and password.
4) Build on the Apple partnership and combine Siri.com with Face.com. When handling your requests, Siri will not just analyze what you say but how you look when you say it. When you wink, Siri will know you are being sarcastic.
5) Improve accessibility for people with speech disabilities. It didn’t take much searching to find a story about Intel working on automated lip reading back in 2003, and Engadget covered an academic approach in 2009. This could benefit Siri as well. Beyond the accessibility enhancements, it could let people mouth commands to their phones when it’s inconvenient to talk aloud.
6) Make “liking” real. Require people to smile to like something. Or just offer it as a bonus option for users to show they really like it.
7) Create an app for event organizers to verify attendees based on recognizing faces of those who registered on Facebook.
8) Offer facial-based age verification when people like and share content from alcohol brands. My wife would love getting facially carded if she tried liking Smirnoff. She’d love it even more if it said she was too young and she should stop lying about her year of birth on Facebook.
9) Team up with Google to create a realistic “Minority Report” theme park. Combining Google’s self-driving cars and intent-based targeting with Facebook’s one billion users and Face.com, little in the movie seems fictitious.
10) Buy book.com. Barnes & Noble owns the site, so Facebook may have to buy Barnes & Noble. That seems doable. Facebook has a market cap of $67 billion, compared to $917 million for the bookseller. Then Facebook can merge Face.com and Book.com and call it… Facebook.
The possibilities are endless? What else should Facebook do? Just look into your webcam, mouth your response, and remember to smile. You want Facebook to know you’re happy, don’t you?