Facebook buys facial recognition firm

Jun 19, 2012 | Facebook marketing

Facebook has bought Israel-based Face.com for an undisclosed sum, bolstering its facial recognition software. Launched in 2008, Face.com powers many Facebook apps that detect and “recognize” faces in photos. Thousands of developers, including Facebook itself, have built applications using Face.com’s online software. Face.com also offers an API (application programming interface) that powers third-party apps including […]

Facebook has bought Israel-based Face.com for an undisclosed sum, bolstering its facial recognition software. Launched in 2008, Face.com powers many Facebook apps that detect and “recognize” faces in photos. Thousands of developers, including Facebook itself, have built applications using Face.com’s online software.


Face.com also offers an API (application programming interface) that powers third-party apps including CelebrityFindr, which allows users to search for photos of celebrities on Twitter using facial recognition technology.
According to the announcement, Face.com will continue to support third-party developers.
“Now, lots of developers use Face.com technology to power various apps and make wonderful products…[T]he plan is to continue to support our developer community,” the blog post reads.
Facebook has been rumored for months to be in talks to acquire the company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“People who use Facebook enjoy sharing photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com’s technology has helped to provide the best photo experience,” Facebook said in a prepared statement. “This transaction simply brings a world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house.”
Facebook is famous for doing “acqui-hires,” scooping up talented staff and then shutting down their services, but a source close to Facebook emphasized that Face.com’s technology will remain intact.
Face.com has provided services to Facebook for two years, so buying the company was a logical move, the source said. Face.com’s small development team plans to stay with the company.
“By working with Facebook directly, and joining their team, we’ll have more opportunities to build amazing products that will be employed by consumers — that’s all we’ve ever wanted to do,” Face.com CEO Gil Hirsch posted on the company’s blog.
Although the announcement did not reveal any specifics about what Facebook will do with the app company, the blog post hints that Facebook may look to tailor Face.com’s technology to craft a mobile experience.
“We love building products, and like our friends at Facebook, we think that mobile is a critical part of people’s lives as they both create and consume content, and share content with their social graph. By working with Facebook directly, and joining their team, we’ll have more opportunities to build amazing products that will be employed by consumers,” the blog post says.
Facebook revealed shortly before its lackluster IPO that it was not yet monetizing mobile users as effectively as it does desktop users.
Read the Face.com blog here

All topics

Previous editions

Get email edition