Exclusive report

Facebook buys facial recognition startup Face.com

Facebook has purchased facial recognition startup Face.com, the companies announced Monday morning.

“People who use Facebook enjoy sharing photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com’s technology has helped to provide the best photo experience,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat. “This transaction simply brings a world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house.”

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but previous reports pegged the acquisition price at between $80 million and $100 million. The deal, which is still pending, is expected to close within the coming weeks.

Founded in 2007, Face.com makes technology that can identify people in photos and even guess a person’s age. The company makes mobile-friendly products such as a developer API and an iOS camera application called KLIK that uses facial recognition technology to help users automatically tag Facebook friends in photos. KLIK, according to third-party Facebook app tracking service AppData, has 40,000 monthly active Facebook users.

Face.com’s mobile acumen appears to be the key selling point here. The startup’s alignment with Facebook on mobile strategy was even discussed by CEO Gil Hirsch in a blog post on the news.

“We love building products, and like our friends at Facebook, we think that mobile is a critical part of people’s lives as they both create and consume content, and share content with their social graph,” Hirsch said. “By working with Facebook directly, and joining their team, we’ll have more opportunities to build amazing products that will be employed by consumers — that’s all we’ve ever wanted to do.”

Following a marred public debut, Facebook has wasted no time in filling mobile holes with calculated hires and purchases. The social network purchased mobile gifting app Karma, recruited the design experts behind Bolt Peters and the iOS dev know-it-alls at Pieceable Software, and also may be actively looking at buying Opera for its mobile browser.

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Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/18/idUS404710296120120618

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