Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
I just checked.
It´s not April 1st.
It might, however, be the beginning stages of the apocalypse. Perhaps it´s time to begin tying up any personal loose ends or perform any long-forgotten religious rituals.
Development group RedPepper Labs (the same group who created the incredibly clever Siri-controlled beer truck, Beeri) have created one of the most frightening and unholy devices in recent history, called Facedeals.
In essence, Facedeals uses facial recognition technology to check people in to their favorite bar, restaurant or local hangout automatically, offering them deals once they arrive. So, a Facedeals user only needs to walk into a participating Facedeals establishment, have a seat, and within moments an alert will pop up on their phone with the special deal of the day for that particular establishment. To up the creep-factor, the Facedeals app, like anything else tied into Facebook´s APIs, has a complete history of your “likes” and can therefore tailor the deal you receive at these locations.
According to the RedPepperLabs website, this app must be approved by the user. Then, it scans your most recent photo tags to get an accurate image of what you look like. That´s it, now any of these Facedeals cameras will be able to spot you in a crowd and check you in to your favorite spots. Oh, and offer you a deal. Besides, saving a few bucks on a drink totally makes up for the fact that these robots are creeping on you out there in the real world.
As for these cameras, Red Pepper Labs describes them as “standalone devices developed around open source technologies including Raspberry Pi, Arduino, OpenCV, and the Facebook Graph API.”
They can even be remotely configured and will only require a basic wall outlet and WiFi connection.
I reached out to the RedPepper Labs team for comment, but had not heard anything by press time.
So much of what Facebook does involves making your personal information public and available to the world. As such, nearly everyone has a story about someone who was caught in a lie or some other awkward situation after they were checked-in at one location by another, ignorant third-party. Though a user must go out of their way to subscribe to the service, confirm their face and approve these notifications, the fact that this system exists is un-nerving in and of itself. It´s also important to remember that this app is not currently affiliated with Facebook and therefore could never see any sort of widespread adoption. Currently, Facedeals is being beta tested in a few locations in the Nashville, Tennessee area and, according to their demo video, the team hopes these cameras could be rolled out to major cities across the world “soon.”
To be honest, I had to see if Facedeals is a hoax. I visited the Red Pepper Labs Facebook page and, in truth, they not only shared a link to the Facedeals site, they also admitted to being called “creepy” by TechCrunch. (Make that TechCrunch AND redOrbit, guys.)
If the comments on their Facebook page are any indication (and the comments I received when I Tweeted the link earlier today) it seems the majority of people are generally creeped out by this idea.
However, if this project is anything like the rest of the Red Pepper Labs ideas– such as QReo, a QR code made of Oreos– this might be nothing more than a grab for attention rather than an actual product they intend to roll out and maintain.