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Google preps identity spotter app

Personal details in a snap

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Ever been sat in a bar and recognised someone, but don't have the balls to ask where you know them from? Soon you can rudely snap a pic to figure it out.

Google is readying a mobile application that allows access to a person's personal details simply by snagging a photograph of them, CNN reports.

Of course, users would have to sign up to the service first - it isn't as simple as scanning millions of Facebook photos just yet. However, according to one of Google's engineering chiefs, Hartmut Neven, the software is almost upon us and the company is in the process of establishing how its privacy features will work.

This type of Big Brother-style search system has apparently been available for years, and Google has been steadily purchasing companies involved in such areas.

Neven's own company, Neven Vision, specialised in object and facial recognition development and created software that was embedded in Picassa to recognise family and friends within a photo album. Google bought the firm in 2006.

Another establishment, Like.com, specialised in scanning product images, but similarly covered recognising people in photographs. Google wrapped up the purchase of this one in 2009 and has since filed for patents in facial recognition technology.

While many privacy aspects have to be addressed first and Google has no specific release timeline, the software will surely surface soon and, if you're not careful, acting like a plonker when drunk could be more embarrassing than you think. ®

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