1000heads: Facebook facial recognition: do you care?

Today’s headlines:

The news is out this morning that literally overnight, Facebook has switched on facial recognition for tagging by default. Typically of the gargantuan social network, the onus is on the user to opt-out of this ‘upgrade’.

A few things on this -  first, for the super-private, here’s how to do just that –

Step 1.
From the Facebook ‘Home‘ page, go to ‘Account‘ and then ‘Privacy Settings

Step 2.
From there, scroll down to ‘Customise Settings

Step 3.
Scroll down again until you find a section entitled ‘Things others share

You’ll find the setting you need to adjust (it’ll be the one automatically switched to ‘enabled’) right next to the above section. Done that? Right. Good.

To my second, and leading point/question – do you actually care?

Yes it’s easy to get annoyed about Facebook not asking permission to switch this on, as well as automatically assigning you the default setting of ‘Yes, I want this’. However, surely if you’re not an idiot when it comes to privacy, you’ve already got a certain amount of barriers and settings in place that prevent unwanted friends and tags taking place, right?

Surely, if you’re smart with your photo tagging (and with your friend requests for that matter), this new feature (whisper it) actually makes life easier.

Yes, tagging your friends in photos is fun, but it can take ages. Having Facebook SUGGEST [yes – ‘suggest’ – not ‘automatically tag’] to YOUR FRIENDS that you might be in one of their photos really isn’t such a big deal.

Moreover, with marketeers increasingly looking for new ways to interact with your relationships, there might even actually be some room here for some real life, campaign-based innovation. Amazing.

So, for me at least, the question still stands: when it comes to Facebook’s new facial recognition, do you care?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments below).

So much news, so little time…

After yesterday’s triple whammy from Ben, Vikki and Dan, it’s time for me to stroll back into Really Mobile town with three stories of my own that I’ve been watching unfold from afar.

Andy Warhol would be proud
Snap, snap, snap...

You see, I’m in Pittsburgh at the moment and, along with a certain Vikki Chowney, I’m helping cover the G20 Summit with Oxfam for the G20Voice project.

However, not only is it the week that the leaders of the world come together and try to do something about the World’s biggest issues (namely: Climate Change), it is also the week that EVERY SINGLE THING IN THE MOBILE WORLD has decided to happen!

First off we had the announcement of a new MVNO from our friends at o2 called, and I kid you not, ‘giffgaff‘. I’ll come back to this shortly.

On top of that, yesterday we also had three, count’em, three mobile development days, with Vodafone, Google and Nokia’s Ovi all wanting to play with our codes.
Google and Ovi we can come back to, there’s nothing new there – Vodafone however, that’s a new one.
(see our quite possibly extremely exclusive UI video for more)

Finally, Nokia went and bought Dopplr (apparently).

Like I said, much too much to talk about, much too much going on and much too much to catch up on. Let’s get on with it shall we?

Got the goss on giffgaff?
giffgaff - bees make honey?

Riff Raff, sorry. Giff Gaff.. Sorry, giffgaff.
What do we have here?

giffgaff is a brand new mobile virtual network operator from deep within the bowels of o2’s HQ. The Really Mobile team had been invited to go along and meet the giffgaff team to see what it’s all about but, what with half of us out of the country and the other half up to their eyeballs with actual work, alas – time was not on our side.

From the press release and from the website so far we can gather that giffgaff will be the first ‘people powered’ network.
Let’s take another look at that release:

“giffgaff, which means ‘to give and receive’, will operate with a low cost base, without the overheads of high street stores, handset subsidies and running large call centres. It offers a simple SIM only tariff and a range of online tools to allow members to self-serve and suggest answers to each other’s questions in online user groups. As well as that, members will be rewarded for things like referring giffgaff to a friend or relative, creating user-generated marketing, or voting on business decisions. The more that members get involved the greater the reward and they will be able to get up to 100 per cent of top-ups back.
giffgaff members have a choice of what to do with their rebate; they can use it for mobile calls and texts, take the cash, or donate it to their preferred charity or fundraising group.”

So far so good, but aside from that details are thin on the ground:

The Q&A gives little away –

Launch? Before Christmas

Costs? We don’t know

Will it work in my phone? “It will work in any ‘unlocked’ mobile. Find out more about unlocking by searching on Google.”

Coverage? We use o2

Can I pre-register? Not yet.

I’m not being picky, I know some of the folk behind this launch, I just feel there’s not much to go on right now. I’m hoping that we’ll find out more when we get to sit down with one of the fourteen members of staff behind the service. That’s right, fourteen. There’s no phone line support if you have a problem and well, that’s about it.

What we can commend giffgaff for is the seemingly open approach that they’re taking with this ‘launch’. The ‘gaffer’ Mike Fairman, is putting himself front and centre of the network’s communications strategy and is asking for as much feedback as possible. Their blog pages are young and Mike’s twitter profile is gaining followers fast so, what happens next – who knows…

For now, we’ll file this under ‘one to watch’.
But for how long, we’ll wait and see.

I seem to have written a bit more than I thought I would, I’ll come back to Vodafone and Nokia later on today.

Stay tuned.