Via a coworker, some clever uses for Google Reverse Image Search over at Lifehacker. For example:
Whatever your social network of choice is, a number of fake profiles exist that try to friend you. Since most of these use stock photos or random pictures of the internet, finding the fakes is easy with a reverse image search.
If only this had come out earlier for Manti Te'o's sake.
Where this really becomes powerful is on a mobile phone, especially as image recognition algorithms become better at identifying objects from different angles.
It only works for a limited set of products, but the iOS app Flow intrigued me early on with its ability to identify products from simply an image. It wasn't that useful at the time because most products it could identify were products that were, well, self-identifying, like a book with its title on the, ahem, cover. But the germ of something cool is there. Think facial recognition databases and Google Glasses, however creepy it might sound, and you get some sense of the potential.
Of course, we knew this day was coming. The internet has always excelled, above all other uses, at moving information more efficiently, and the day when pictorial information is so easily identified is easily correlated to metadata is not far away. When I was at Hulu we already had facial recognition working fairly well for characters on screen in video, and they've since rolled it out on some videos.
Personally, I'd love that feature for Game of Thrones, where I spend half of each episode asking people I'm with who so and so is. And if such technology existed back in the day, a show like The Americans would seem more implausible, since even without that technology it's pretty clear it's Keri Russell under the endless supply of strange wigs and hairpieces she dons as costumes.
Which reminds me, I'm glad the new Man of Steel trailer seems to hint that they won't even bother establishing the whole Clark Kent persona (they also try to explain the S on his chest which is why I'm guessing they're going for a more realistic depiction of the fantasy, much like Nolan's Dark Knight did for Batman). I have never been able to get over the fact that Superman's disguise was simply a pair of glasses. Everything else about him, his hair, his voice, his build, was exactly the same.
You might wonder why I'd pick on that implausibility and not any of the other ridiculous things like his red underwear (overwear), the fact that he could fly, the fact that they speak English on Krypton, all that stuff. And the answer is, there is no reason, at least none that is acceptable for a grown adult.