Facebook ‘Photo Magic’ tool scans through all of your phone camera pictures even before they’re uploaded
Facebook is set to launch a new ‘Photo Magic’ tool to make it easier for you to share photos with your friends even before you upload them to the social network.
The tool, which will be integrated with Facebook Messenger will scan through your camera roll with the help of facial recognition technology. It will then send notification to the user after recognizing family members or friends and ask if you want to share it with the people that are in them. However, this would also mean that all of the pictures on a persons’ phone are being sent up to Facebook’s servers. The new tool is part of a broader effort by Facebook to encourage more content sharing.
David Marcus, Facebook Messenger boss said in a Facebook post, on Monday “This is one of our upcoming features I’m really excited about, as it’s still way too difficult to share photos with friends, and receive all the ones you’re in.”
In order for the Photo Magic tool to work, users will have to allow Facebook Messenger see their pictures. Users have to physically opt into the new feature, as it isn’t enabled by default. If you’ve ever sent your friends a photo via Messenger, you’ve likely already opted in. It is also possible to turn off facial recognition in Facebook’s settings in the ‘Timeline and tagging’ section.
The Messenger app will ask for access to photos stored on a user’s phone when Photo Magic is used for the first time.
In tests, people with Android phones are receiving alerts every time “Photo Magic” scans the pictures as soon as they are taken, offering a push notification that advises users to send the photo to the people that are in it. However, for iPhone users, it will scan through the camera roll “periodically”.
Marcus confirmed that the feature was “testing in Australia” and would be rolling out in the US soon. However, it’s unlikely that the feature will come to the UK or the rest of Europe any time soon, since the EU has stopped people from operating facial recognition software that doesn’t let people to explicitly opt in.
“Today, we’re starting to test an optional new feature to make sharing photos in Messenger even easier and more fun. People send more than 9.5 billion photos through Messenger every month, but sending photos of friends, and particularly groups of friends, is still too complicated. With Photo Magic, Messenger recognizes your friends in the photos you take and enables you to share your pictures with the friends in them in just two taps,” said a Facebook spokesperson in an email.
Currently, the tool is in testing on Android in Australia and will be rolling out on iOS later. Instead of downloading a new app, it will likely be added with an update in both cases.
Among other efforts, Facebook recently collaborated with Apple Music and Spotify so that users can easily share their favorite music with friends.