Facebook’s facial recognition coming to Messenger

Facebook Photo Magic image 001

Facebook’s facial recognition technology, used on the site to offer suggestions for photo tags, is coming to the company’s Messenger mobile software, Re/code reported Monday.

With facial recognition, Messenger will run an analysis of the photos in your iPhone’s Camera roll that you haven’t uploaded yet. When it recognizes a face of a Facebook friend on a photo, you’ll get a notification to send them the image through Messenger, a cool feature if you snap a bunch of photos at parties that you routinely forget to send later to the attendees.

Photo Magic

“When you take a photo of your friends, you’ll get a reminder to send the photo to them,“ reads the feature’s description. “The photo will not be sent unless you tap Send.”

They’re calling it Photo Magic and it works like this.

Facebook Photo Magic image 002

You’ll basically receive a push notification when Facebook’s facial recognition identifies one of your Facebook friends on photos in the Camera roll. Tapping on a notification will take you straight in the Messenger app, with the photo already attached to your message.

“It’s all using the same tech on the back end,” Peter Martinazzi, a product manager for Messenger, told Mashable.

“If you get a new picture, whether you took that picture in your camera app or in a different app, and it goes to your camera roll, then we’ll face detect on that picture. Then we’ll send you the local notification for you to send that photo [to friends] if you want to.”

All you have to do is type your message and hit Send.

Photo Magic is optional

Photo Magic is optional and, according to Buzz Feed, Facebook has said that it is working on finding the right balance of when to alert you so you won’t notify you about each and every photo.

The key use case here is to get people sharing more on Messenger. While Facebook continues to be the primary place to share vacation and family photos with their friends, Messenger is become an important photo-sharing platform, too.

Just last month alone, for example, an astounding 9.5 billion photos were sent within Messenger.

Facebook Photo Magic image 003

The same facial recognition technology was recently folded into Facebook’s private photo-sharing app, Moments.


Currently, only Android users in Australia can take advantage of Photo Magic. Facebook has promised to roll out an iPhone version of Photo Magic shortly so watch this space for updates when the feature drops. Provided folks respond well to the initial tests, they’ll bring the feature to more countries.

Due to the different limitations imposed to third-party development on Android and iOS, Messenger for Android will get alerts every time a new photo is taken. On iOS, the app will check in periodically and will only scan for new photos.

Source: Re/code, Buzz Feed, Mashable