by Paul Rudo on 10/01/12 at 8:19 am
Until now, most of the privacy debates regarding data aggregators have concerned text-base data which is being collected about you. This would include things such as addresses, phone numbers, work history, search histories, etc…
But at least other analog data was safe. Nobody would ever have a chance of finding that embarrassing picture you took in college, since your name doesn’t appear in the labels.
All of this is about to change thanks to the next generation of search and data analysis.
For a preview of the future today, you can have a look at Google Goggles. This is an android app that allows you to snap a picture with your mobile phone, and then perform sophisticated analysis to match the image with other information that they’ve collected.
Here are a few current example of what this technology can currently do:
- Snap a picture of a logo, and Google Goggles will provide detailed information about the company behind the brand.
- Snap a picture of a famous landmark or building, and Google will give you background on the item in the photo.
- Snap a picture of a book, and Google will bring up information from the publisher.
- Snap a picture of a painting, and Google will tell you about the painter and the painting’s history.
- Snap a picture of a business card, and Google will perform OCR on the card and add this person to your contact list.
- Snap a picture of a foreign language sign or text, and Google will translate it into any language you want.
- If you snap a picture of a retail product, Google Goggles will pull up product reviews and price comparisons.
In the future, Google plans to leverage this technology to perform a number of interesting tasks:
- Snap a picture of a leaf, and it will tell you what kind of plant it came from.
- Snap a picture of an animal, and pull up the Wikipedia page for that animal.
- Snap a picture of a chess game, and it will suggest your best move.
Of course, this technology also presents some potential privacy threats.
- If someone takes your picture, they could use this data to find other pictures of you, and collect all sorts of private information about you.
- Personal photos taken inside people’s homes can be scanned in bulk to extract information about individuals, living habits and products within the home.
- Police could use face-recognition technology to scan year’s worth of security camera footage and compile a detailed history of an individual’s personal habits and routines. (This technology is already being used to scan license plates in bulk)
These are very interesting times we’re living in. Although technology like this might seem like science fiction, you can rest assured that it will become a natural part of your everyday life within the next few years.
What’s your opinion on this topic? Leave a note in the comments below.