- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 13, 2015

Apple has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in which the Cupertino-based computer giant outlines a plan for using advanced facial recognition algorithms to let smartphone customers share photographs more easily with one another.

The “Systems and Methods for Sending Digital Images” patent was filed in February 2014, according to the Patent Office’s website, but not made public until Thursday this week.

An abstract for the technology suggests Apple may soon roll-out a program that would take photographs captured by the camera app on an individual’s smartphone and then forward the images to the persons depicted in the pictures.

“An individual may have provided information for facial recognition of the individual to a service. Based on the information, the service may recognize that the individual is in an uploaded picture and send the digital image to the user account of the individual,” the abstract reads in part.

Although Apple took their plan to the Patent Office more than a year ago, this week’s news comes nearly two months after fellow Silicon Valley heavyweight Facebook went public with its own facial recognition app, Moments.

“Moments groups the photos on your phone based on when they were taken and, using facial recognition technology, which friends are in them,” Facebook explained in June. “You can then privately sync those photos quickly and easily with specific friends, and they can choose to sync their photos with you as well.”

Photos, an imaging application released by Apple earlier this year for its Mac computers, already contains a feature that allows users to group photographs using facial recognition, but the proposal published this week calls for a framework in which algorithms will not just detect the persons in each picture, but provide multiple options for sending those images, be it email, SMS or social media.

AppleInsider, the blog where the patent application was first reported on Thursday, noted that logically “the next” step for Apple after the roll-out of its Photos software would be syncing it with users’ contact lists.

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