Facebook Will Start Using Facial Recognition Next Week

More than 100 million new tags are added to photographs on Facebook every day, the social networking giant announced in an official blog post last night. In an effort to make that process, by which names are added to the individuals that appear in an image for cataloging and recognition purposes, a bit easier, Facebook plans to start rolling out a new tool to users in the United States next week. (Never again -- should this new feature work -- will you be stuck tagging the same people over and over again in entire albums of vacation photos.)

The facial recognition tool, which was developed internally but with technology that comes from some undisclosed outside partners, has been in the works for several months now. Here's how it will work: "When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software -- similar to that found in many photo editing tools -- to match your new photos to other photos you're tagged in," the Facebook blog explaines. "We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos."

As with all new Facebook features, there's bound to be an uproar about the privacy issues involved. The development team has done the best they can to minimize that by including an option to disable suggested tags by visiting your account's privacy settings.