Google Adds Facial Recognition to Google+ with 'Find My Face'

Advertising giant Google is once again following in Facebook's footsteps, rolling out a new facial recognition system to its Google+ social networking service.

Unlike Facebook's system, which has garnered the ire of privacy advocates who complain that the automatic recognition and tagging of subjects in photographs is a blatant violation of their right to privacy, Google's offering is opt-in only - a move which should help keep the company out of hot water.

Announced by Google+ Photos engineering lead Matt Steiner, the new update - dubbed Find My Face - will roll out to all Google+ users over the next few days, allowing them to tag their images more quickly.

"Around the holidays, many of us get together with friends and family, and if you're like me, you take lots of photos! Tagging those photos can be a lot of work. So today we're launching Find My Face, an easier way to tag photos of yourself and your friends," Steiner explained.

"By turning on Find My Face, Google+ can prompt people you know to tag your face when it appears in photos. Of course, you have control over which tags you accept or reject, and you can turn the feature on or off in Google+ settings," he added.

The move comes as Google works to streamline its business, closing extraneous projects such as Google Labs in order to better concentrate its efforts on the core competencies of advertising, search and - with the launch of Google+ - social networking.