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    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Reuter site - Apple’s iOS facial recognition could lead to Kinect-like interaction

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    Apple's iOS facial recognition could lead to Kinect-like interaction

    Wed, Jul 27 17:15 PM EDT

    Apple  has included facial recognition technology in iOS 5, 9to5Mac discovered earlier this week. It's not something Apple is advertising about with the software update yet, but as it develops, it could become one of the most significant additions ever introduced to Apple's mobile operating system.

    The recognition tech was presumably acquired through Apple's 2010 purchase of Polar Rose, a company that specialized in face detection algorithms. 9t05Mac found iOS 5 APIs that use the tech, which means they should provide an easy way for developers to implement facial recognition for various purposes in their own apps, quickly and easily.

    The unearthed APIs are described as "highly sophisticated," and can determine where a user's mouth, and left and right eyes are located, as well as process images taken by the iPhone for face detection. Aside from providing Apple an easy way to introduce Faces (which recognizes specific people in iPhoto) to both its own Photos app and any third-party apps that access that library, it should also open the door for much more advanced facial recognition applications.

    You could create apps that track a user's eye movement and dynamically change content accordingly, for instance. App developers might even be able to use data gathered from facial recognition APIs to identify so-called "hotspots," providing insight about where a user is looking most within an app and arranging content accordingly. In time, an iPhone app might even be able to assess the emotional state of the user, based on whether they're frowning or smiling, and address the user in a manner appropriate to their mood. It might also be able to tell how engaged users are with mobile ads and content, which might be useful for iAd customers, among others.

    Apple could also use the tech to implement something many have been asking for on iOS device in a unique way: user account switching. Currently, iOS devices don't have user accounts the way a Mac does. On the iPad especially, which is a shared device for many, it makes sense to offer multiple accounts that offer different levels of access to different sets of content. Facial recognition could intelligently and automatically switch iOS user profiles, setting restrictions if a child picks up a device, and changing the app load-out and home screen arrangement for different family members.

    But before all that, which is admittedly something still likely quite a way off in terms of the development of iOS, we should see implementations that improve Apple's existing video products. So features like FaceTime, for instance, could get the ability to judge which person deserves focus during a group video chat (which is also likely in the works). A similar system has been described as one of the possible motivations behind Google's recent acquisition of facial recognition company PittPatt, for use with Google+ Hangouts.

    Whatever else it leads to, facial recognition should provide developers with the opportunity to create some impressive new apps, so long as they keep in mind what Facebook learned the hard way: People don't like it when you implement recognition without asking nicely first.

    Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:<br>Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.</p><ul><li>Connected Consumer Q2: Digital music meets the cloud; e-book growth explodes</li><li>The Future of Workplaces</li><li>The Future of TV Can Bet on "Apps Everywhere"</li></ul>

    Reuter site - ICANN to expand top level Internet domains despite critics

    This article was sent to you from, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:

    ICANN to expand top level Internet domains despite critics

    Thu, Jan 05 09:34 AM EST

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - ICANN, an independent body responsible for organizing the Internet, plans to press ahead with plans to expand the number of possible website addresses despite criticism from industry and concerns from some law enforcement groups.

    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which decides who gets to manage .com, .net and other domains to the right of the period in a URL, plans to begin accepting applications next week for a hugely expanded number of Web domain options.

    This has infuriated and worried corporations, which already troll the web looking for trademark violations and sometimes buy web addresses they don't plan to use to prevent them from falling into the hands of cybersquatters.

    In a letter Tuesday, Lawrence Strickling, administrator of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, urged ICANN to take steps to minimize the need for these defensive registrations.

    "In meetings we have held with industry over the past weeks, we have learned that there is tremendous concern about the specifics of the program that may lead to a number of unintended and unforeseen consequences and could jeopardize its success," Strickling wrote on Tuesday.

    ICANN said on Wednesday that it would review Strickling's recommendations. "We appreciate Assistant Secretary Strickling's comments and suggestions," said Steve Crocker, chair of ICANN's board in an emailed statement.

    Each top level domain would cost $185,000. Applications will be accepted beginning on January 12, although it is not known when the first new registries will be up and running.

    "Of course, we're going to go slow," said a source close to ICANN.

    That said, ICANN has no plans to delay rollout of the top level domain expansion, a goal that is to allow more innovation in website addresses and to open the space to the non-Latin alphabets. It has pledged a quick take-down for trademark violators under the new system.

    Strickling also urged ICANN to do a better job of identifying who controls particular websites, with the goal of being able to aid law enforcement if the sites are used for criminal activity.

    But Dan Jaffe, Executive Vice President of Government Relations for the Association of National Advertisers, worried that companies would be forced to spend millions not only to monitor their trademarks in top level domains but in the proliferating number of websites.

    "The problem is the history and the history has been that ICANN has not been responsive," said Jaffe.

    Jim Lewis, a tech expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the high cost alone of applying for a top level domain -- $185,000 -- would go a long way toward deterring bad registry owners.

    "Slow (implementation) is probably better," he added. "Their (companies') concern is brand dilution. It's a reasonable concern."

    (Editing by Bernard Orr; Reporting By Diane Bartz)

    Corrects Dan Jaffe's title in paragraph 11.

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