Facebook’s Moments was launched in the U.S. nearly a year ago, and now the private photo-sharing app is making its global debut. However, the new version of the photo-sharing app is a stripped-down version, respecting the privacy concerns of other markets.
A stripped-down version
On Tuesday, the social networking site announced the launch of the new, modified version in Canada and the EU. In June 2015, the app was released in the U.S., and it took advantage offacial recognition technology to suggest friends you should share photos with by identifying who appears in the pictures.
The new version, however, does not have this feature due to several privacy laws and regulations in other markets. The version launched in the U.S. also allowed users to search by name to find photos of specific friends. Facebook told TechCrunch that the new version cannot automatically identify the person in the photos; instead, it groups together pictures that appear to include the same face.
Facebook uses a form of object recognition which is based on features like the distance between a person’s ears and eyes to make this determination, says the social networking site. This may not be as accurate as facial recognition. This also means that the new version of Facebook Moments will have a different user interface.
Facebook facing legal battle
Also the app lets a user give a group of similar pictures a private label such as “Dad” or the name of that person. However, the labels users assign are private only to them. The application takes into consideration factors like time, date and location where the picture was taken.
The new version debuts at a time when the social media giant finds itself entangled in a new legal battle over the legality of storing biometric data mined from photographs of people. A group of Illinois Facebook users accused the social networking site of illegally using geometric representations of faces to create a faceprint for each of its users. When new pictures are uploaded to the network, faceprints are used to suggest tags for people.
Nevertheless, Facebook Moments is a useful feature. Last year, the company replaced its photo-syncing service with Moments and encouraged users to use Moments instead. This strategy seems to have worked as to date, over 600 million photos have been shared in Moments, the social networking giant says.
According to App Annie, in the U.S. App Store, the Moments app is ranked eighth in the highly competitive Photo & Video category, while in the free applications segment, it is ranked 39th.