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Creepy photo-tagging tech slotted into Google+

'Find my face' feature lands

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Eric Schmidt may have been creeped out by the idea of using huge facial databases to identify individuals online, but that hasn't stopped Google from debuting its own version of the technology.

Google+, Mountain View's own take on social networking, is now loaded with a photo-tagging and "find my face" feature that punters must opt-in to use.

By default, the Chocolate Factory has switched off the "find my face in photos and prompt people I know to tag me" option, however, as soon as a user clicks on a photograph Google+ politely asks that individual to consider enabling the feature.

It also points out the user has total control over the "find my face" option.

In July, Google bought facial recognition outfit pittpatt, at which point it was clear that the company would eventually add a photo-tagging feature to Google+.

However, it's a move that appears to fly in the, er, face of Google chairman Schmidt, who in May this year indicated that the world's largest ad broker had no intention whatsoever of using such creepy tech in the firm's products.

But then, we suppose, seven months is a long time in the online world. Google has been closely watching the fallout from Facebook's botched attempt at stealthily folding facial recognition tech into its users' accounts. And it now better understands the softly softly catchy monkey approach is better than an iron fist when it comes to debuting features in Google+.

The company spectacularly failed to win over privacy advocates when it rolled out the nearly defunct Buzz, which was bolted onto Gmail accounts without first asking for permission from that particular userbase.

This year has proved extremely embarrassing for both Facebook and Google when it comes to butter-fingered handling of data online. The pair, now humiliatingly subjected to bi-annual privacy audits for the next 20 years in the US, are attempting to regain trust from their respective users.

It's unlikely that this means Facebook or Google will do less evil with the data they farm come 2012. But it does mean the companies are much more under the spotlight when it comes to herding identities on the interwebulator.

Now it's a question of being a little more creative with how to best use the tech stored in their gun rooms. ®

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