After rumors all but confirmed it, Face.com, the Israeli facial recognition startup, finally acknowledged on its blog today that the company has been acquired by Facebook. TechCrunch’s sources estimate that the acquisition price was between $80 million and $100 million, the same figure circulated that month in the Israeli press. The deal was reportedly not part of an acqui-hire to bring Face.com’s staff into the fold, but rather centered around leveraging the company’s technology to help Facebook with mobile photos.
In fact, for the first deployment of its technology, Face.com released an app called KLIK that let users tag Facebook friends in real-time by scanning public photos in your social network and suggesting tags for friends. Once Face.com’s technology is embedded in Facebook, users would theoretically be able get suggestions and tag friends with one click. The benefits to Facebook come in the form of increased engagement from all those “You’ve been tagged” notifications. As Facebook’s SEC filings noted, revenues could suffer if users decreasing their engagement with mobile, the social network’s Kryptonite. There’s also the option of baking Face.com’s technology into Instagram, Facebook’s other recent mobile-minded acquisition.
As Betabeat has noted before, Face.com’s API is incredibly popular in hackathons. Probably because developers can use it to build apps like Cyborg Vision, which lets see the world around you like a Terminator.
In the announcement, CEO and founder Gil Hirsch assured third-party developers that that kind of support would continue:
Now, lots of developers use Face.com technology to power various apps and make wonderful products. We love you guys, and the plan is to continue to support our developer community. If there are new developments you can expect to hear from us here, on the developer blog, and through our developer newsletter.
No CTO? No problem! Suddenly, Zuck’s mobile future isn’t looking so bleak.