Google Enters Facial Recognition Space with Viewdle Buy


Google’s Motorola Mobility unit has purchased Silicon Valley-based developer Viewdle, a company that creates face detection software for an estimated price of between $35 and $40 million. Gesture and facial recognition appears to be the next technology that smartphones and other device manufacturers will be using as they seek to differentiate themselves as rivals have also been moving down this path.

Viewdle is a cross platform developer that creates applications and software development kits that enable facial and gesture recognition that are optimized for the low power environment of mobile devices. At last year’s CTIA conference the company won the Social Networking/Content/Entertainment category of CTIA’s annual Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Awards competition.

Viewdle was founded in 2007 and closed an estimated $2 million Series A round of funding backed by Anthem Venture Partners. Iit closed its Series B round of funding in October 2010 after raising $10 million. Investors included Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund and Qualcomm as well as Series A investor Anthem Venture Partners

In the past few years others have been snapping up developers in this space. Apple reportedly has purchased a developer named Polar Rose, a developer that helps identify users in photos and enables storing images based on their content for an estimated $22 million.

Intel has long been showing that it is working in this area and last year showed that it could perform facial recognition with software running on its systems. If it is internally developed look for smartphones and tablets sing its processors to offer that capability at some time in the future. Earlier this year Facebook entered the fray when it purchased Face.Com for $100m and it was expected at that time that the facial tagging app would find its way into mobile products.

I imagine that it will be some time before we see a Motorola Razr phone that has this capability but it will be interesting to have. This could be a real boon for sports fans that take lots of pictures, say of college baseball players and then forget who they are. Now you phone or camera can tell you.


  1. So will Google be using the software for Google+ some how?

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