You Can’t Hide From the Web

I know my friend Brian Sollom, is nodding his head and Mike “foleymo” Foley has probably already signed up. The Next Web is reporting about a new app that allows you to take a picture of someone and pull up all of their recent social activity. It’s not hard to let your imagination go from there.

Stalk a Stranger. Point Your Phone At Their Face.

Recognizr works when the user points the camera at another person. Inbuilt face recognition software maps a 3D model of the subject and transmits the information to a remote server where it is matched with an identity already present in the database. This information is then sent back to the handset along with any relevant social networking information associated to that person, conveniently displayed above the persons head using little social icons.

The service is opt in only (right now) but face recognition technology exists from companies like HP and Microsoft. There are even free versions out there. It’s only a matter of time before this capability is available without having to opt in.

This will scare the crap out of a large number of people. I understand but there’s no turning back.You can either try, unsuccessfully, to hide from it or you can take control of it and manage it.

Here are my 3 big takeaways for you:

  1. There are no back channels. Do not say anything on the Web you wouldn’t want everyone and anyone to see.
  2. Understand how to use the tools. Facebook and Google don’t make it easy to control your privacy (it’s in there best interest when more data is public) but understand how to use the privacy settings and use them as you see appropriate.
  3. There is no difference between online, offline and mobile realities.

I’ve long claimed that ther is no difference between online and offline. Augmented reality apps are another example of this.

As marketers we need to quit talking about online vs offline vs mobile. The form factor and user interface may be different but all three coexist and we need to be thinking about and using all three. We also need to act responsibly with customers best interest in mind.

Don’t sacrifice customer privacy and comfort for monetary gain. There is a backlash coming, it won’t be pretty and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of that fire storm.

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