Russian search giant Yandex has added facial recognition technology to its photo hosting service, Yandex.Fotki. Yandex is leveraging Face.com‘s facial recognition technology to create a “smart” photo tagging service.
Yandex will let users tag other people in photos. Once a person is tagged a few times on Yandex.Fotki, the person will start to be “learned” by Yandex.
As the service learns to “know” this person and starts suggesting familiar tags when the user needs to tag new photos of this person. All the user has to do is confirm the tag for it to appear on the photos. People in photos uploaded to the service can be tagged with their Yandex.Fotki account name or with any other name.
Face.com is the technology that powers the Facebook apps Photo Finder and Photo Tagger. Since those apps debuted, Face.com has been “learning” over 120,000 faces each day. Their API is freely available to use.
Yandex.Fotki is a free photo hosting service with unlimited storage space for users.
Yandex has been seemingly following in the footsteps of Google, adding similar features. Last July, Google acquired facial recognition technology of their own when they purchased PittPatt. More than an API user, last fall, Yandex invested in the Israel-based Face.com during their second round of funding.
Yandex made big strides in 2011 to expand their services and their market share. Yandex is the default search engine on Russian Windows mobile phones. Yandex has search appliances for maps, news, blogs, video, pictures and stock market features.
With Yandex Labs in Palo Alto, California, do you think 2012 is the year Yandex makes it’s impact in America?