Google hasn't been afraid to acquire companies in the past and on Friday it was revealed that Google had bought out a company whose focus was creating facial recognition technology. The Wall Street Journal reports that PittPatt (short for Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition) was bought by Google but the specific financial terms were not disclosed. PittPatt was first established in 2004.
In a statement on PittPatt's web site, "At Google, computer vision technology is already at the core of many existing products (such as Image Search, YouTube, Picasa, and Goggles), so it's a natural fit to join Google and bring the benefits of our research and technology to a wider audience." It's not clear what Google plans to do with PittPatt's technology. The Wall Street Journal quotes a Google spokesperson as saying, "We’ve said that we won’t add face recognition to our apps or product features unless we have strong privacy protections in place, and that’s still the case."
Oddly enough Google had already developed its own facial recognition technology for one of its product, Google Goggles. However the company decided not to release the tech. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt was quoted in a conference as saying, "As far as I know, it’s the only technology that Google built and after looking at it, we decided to stop. People could use this stuff in a very, very bad way as well as in a good way." Perhaps this new development means that Google feels more comfortable with developing such technology.