Facebook API Euthanasia Continues: Keeping Face.com to Itself

Adam DuVander
Jul. 07 2012, 09:18AM EDT

Facebook is closing down the Face.com API for facial detection and recognition. It follows a long line of API euthanasia from the social network. Expect Face.com's technology to be integrated into Facebook itself and the great domain name otherwise repurposed. As for Face.com's 45,000+ developers? Sorry Charlie.

The well-timed weekend announcement hasn't kept the natives un-restless, according to The Next Web:

The future of those products suddenly looks shaky – good quality facial recognition APIs don’t just fall off trees. On Hacker News, there are calls for an open source alternative, while developers are venting their frustration on Twitter.

On Hacker News the top comment explains the reason behind much of the developer frustration:

It's their API, and they can do what they want with it - but I'm not entirely sure shutting it down is entirely in line with "we love you guys [API users], and the plan is to continue to support our developer community", which is what they posted on their blog when the acquisition was announced.

A lot of people took this to mean the API was going to keep running.

There are a lot of Face.com API developers. The company touted that the API was free. A year ago we reported more than 20,000 developers had signed up. By March, the number had doubled. Every hackathon I've ever been to, it's been a popular API to use, even if the company isn't attending that event.

The base face detection library used by Face.com is open source, based on OpenCV. And there is a free, open source version compatible with the Face.com API planned by Lambdal Labs.

For those who want something off the shelf today, three of the 5 face recognition APIs in our directory are still around. The most complete appears to be the Betaface API.

Via Jean-Luc David

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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