Facebook begins pushing updates to photos application, tagging first

Facebook realizes that its photo application is sometimes cumbersome to use, and promised late Thursday that it is working to make things better.

The impetus behind making one of the most commonly-used features of Facebook better seems to be Facebook's acquisition of photo sharing site Divvyshot in April. In fact, the social networking site turned to Divvyshot co-founder Sam Odio -- now a product manager at Facebook -- to introduce the first enhancement: facial recognition.

"Within the photos product most people spend their time uploading, browsing and tagging photos," Odio said in a post on Facebook's official blog. "For tagging, we began testing [Thursday] a faster and easier way for you to tag your own photos."

Some users now have the option to have faces within their pictures automatically detected after upload, meaning the user will only need to enter the name of the tagged face to complete the process.

Technology like this has already been in use in cameras for years, aiding in focusing and ensuring better pictures. Apple uses something like this in the latest versions of iPhoto, automatically detecting people's faces in photos for easy organization. It certainly seems though that this would be a first for use on a social networking site, however.

It looks like Facebook is moving to the point where not only the face would be automatically detected, but the identity as well much like iPhoto -- making the process of tagging friends in photographs completely automated. Of course this could be problematic, as some may not wish to have certain photos of them tagged for whatever reason -- be it work or personal.

Either way, Odio promises more enhancements are coming in the areas of uploading, browsing and tagging, all of which are intended to make the photo application more friendly. "We know Facebook Photos can improve. You've told us so, and we hear you," he wrote.

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