Google bought George’s face for $5 and he doesn’t know what the company plans to do with the data. Well, sort of.
Evidently, some Googlers are walking about New York City asking people to take a selfie and giving them a $5 gift card to Amazon or Starbucks in exchange for 5 minutes of interacting with the phone.
George, as ZDNet explains, is an engineer who just can’t help himself when it comes to curiosity. He said someone walked up to him while sitting on a park and said “Hi, I work for Google and we're collecting data to improve the next generation of facial recognition phone unlocking."
George had to use the selfie mode on a camera they handed him. He was told to move his face around to get different angles.
This group in the New York Park isn’t the only team collecting data, according to the report, citing George. In fact, Google has teams in many cities doing this same thing.
As for privacy concerns, George doesn’t seem to have any. He didn’t read the full waiver he signed and admitted to signing away the rights to his image. Eek.
"Google basically has my whole life on their servers already,” he told ZDNet. “Removing Google from my life just isn't going to happen from a practical point of view. I don't really care about data privacy because I think it's all an illusion anyway."
Google holds a patent for facial recognition, granted in June 2018 by U.S. Patent and Trademark. The abstract describes a method for performing facial recognition. Rather than using a live face, this one access a digital photograph.
“A first face template is generated for each face detected in the first digital photograph,” per the patent. “Second user identifiers that are associated with a first user identifier are determined. A digital photograph index of photographs, user identifiers, and areas in the digital photographs in which a face of a user identified by user identifier is located is accessed.”
The patent goes on to describe how the image recognition is associated and generated from the faces of the user the digital photographs.
Search Insider reached out to Google for comment. We will update the story with any additional information.