It looks like Google‘s 2006 acquisition of Neven Vision is finally starting to pay off. Neven Vision specializes in facial recognition software. But how does facial recognition fit in with a search engine? We might have the answer. Google Blogoscoped, a blog dedicated to everything Google, got a tip from a Google engineer. It looks like Google has quietly added some facial recognition abilities to Google Image Search this week.

How To Try A Facial Recognition Image Search

minted methodshopThe feature remains unofficial and unannounced, but you can add a small query string to the end of your Google Image search URL to see the facial recognition software in action.

For example, do a normal Google image search for “Starbuck Battlestar” and your image results should produce images from the American SyFy Channel TV show Battlestar Galactica. Then try adding “&imgtype=face” to the end of the URL. Your new search results will only contain photos of people and tight shots of their faces. Cool right?

minted methodshop

Neven Vision & Google

Last August, Google Picasa product manager Adrian Graham had this to say about Google’s acquisition of Neven Vision in the official Google blog:

“Neven Vision comes to Google with deep technology and expertise around automatically extracting information from a photo. It could be as simple as detecting whether or not a photo contains a person, or, one day, as complex as recognizing people, places, and objects.”