Just fresh from its disappointing IPO, Facebook is looking to use its freshly minted billions to complete its photo strategy. It has already snapped up mobile photo sharing startup Instagram for a cool billion dollars. Now, it is eyeing other acquisitions that would round out its photo technology offerings. Given its fat pockets and what it seeks to accomplish in the photo processing space, it would make sense for Facebook to consider acquiring the acknowledged leader in facial recognition, Face.Com.
If its technology is not attractive enough by itself, Face.Com’s recent venture in selling its services in the mobile space adds even more incentive for the social networking company to buy this company out. Face.Com recently offered its Klik iOS app that enables mobile users to do real-time tagging. The company is well-known for its existing app, Photos Tagger. This facial recognition software enables users to scan different photo albums on Facebook to look for friends’ faces. It does such a good job that Facebook uses Face.Com’s API for its own facial recognition system.
According to some reports, prior to Facebook’s famous Instagram acquisition, it was already rumored to be looking into buying out the facial recognition company. In fact, more than a year prior, the Israeli business journal TheMarker ran a story that claimed Face.Com had rebuffed Facebook’s offer to buy it. Most recently, the latest acquisition report surfaced in the Hebew language paper, Calcalist, which reported the acquisition as valued at around “tens of millions” of dollars. Another new site reported that the deal was valued at a range of $80 million to $100 million dollars. Regardless, the CEO of Face.Com, Gil Hirsch, commented on the rumor by saying that he had no new development to share.
As interesting as this deal may be to Facebook’s photo strategy, such an acquisition may pose long-term legal risks for Facebook since this technology may raise privacy issues down the road. Should users raise a big enough stink, Facebook would have just wasted money on technology the bulk of its users may not be comfortable with.