It has been an ongoing affair between Google and image recognition. Recently in Europe, the search giant published its facial recognition patent, suggesting that social network photos could be used to provide deeper information on each person that appears within visual search results.
Google previously launched its Google Goggles application for mobile phones, allowing users to snap a picture of their surroundings that generate search results providing information on the image. At the time of its launch, they chose not to provide facial recognition within this service.
Between their Facial Recognition with Social Network Aiding patent published, which provides a suggested list of identities for each face within an image, and their proposed User Interface for Presenting Search Results for Multiple Regions of a Visual Query patent, which breaks apart each individual item in an image for recognition purposes, Google is heavily suggesting the evolution in mobile visual search.
Currently dealing with privacy concerns that have surfaced, Google must decide how they are willing to provide users with control over their images should they be recognized. While many people may not see this as a threatening movement in search, others find it somewhat concerning. One way to protect privacy within visual search is to give authorization to upload the image online to only those recognized in the search. However, these details have not yet been finalized.
While facial recognition offers benefits to some, such as government use, many still view it a violation of privacy. While visual search continues to spread through the mobile market, Google will continue to experiment with the ongoing opportunities and address any future concerns as they arise.