Microsoft to use facial recognition tech to sort, group, and rank your photos for searching

Microsoft has published a new patent outlining how it will use facial recognition to categorize and rank photos to make it easier to search for images.

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Facial recognition has been around for a while, with Windows Hello employing the tech so you can log into a Windows 11 device by simply looking at your webcam. This technology also exists in smartphones, surveillance, and security - AI also plays a role in how facial recognition technologies are trained and used.

Microsoft to use facial recognition tech to sort, group, and rank your photos for searching 02

According to a new patent (seen by Windows Report), Microsoft plans to integrate facial recognition technology with Windows 11 and OneDrive image search functionality. It will use facial recognition to review photos, determine the number of people shown and their identities, and then rank them accordingly.

If you're wondering where a patent fits into the picture, well, faces "determined to be friends or family" will be ranked higher than groups of fewer friends and family - so it's all about using the tech in a detailed searching tool.

This technology is expected to be built on top of existing Windows Hello and Azure AI facial recognition technology. Separate from how you might feel about facial recognition tech and tools, going through your cloud-based photos and images, searching through thousands of pics for certain moments with family and friends, and getting instant, accurate results is an excellent feature.

Privacy is naturally a concern, so hopefully, this tech falls under Microsoft's existing AI facial recognition services, including restricting police usage and adhering to and understanding the company's Responsible AI guidelines.

Still, you might be wondering how this technology will accurately identify people. Well, the 'Ranking Engine' will use social media platforms for identification (you can also supply it with images and albums) - a friendly little reminder that your online public persona will continue to be used to train all sorts of technology.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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