New Face.com API Alternative Ready for Your Photos

Adam DuVander
Jul. 24 2012, 09:35AM EDT

It's been a little over two weeks since the latest Facebook API euthanasia which saw the Face.com API shuttered. Among those disappointed by the API shutdown were the founders of LambdaLabs, which quickly began work on an alternative, the LambdaLabs Face API. Though not as full-featured as the Face.com API, Lambda's looks likely to stay online longer.

If all you need is basic face detection, this API likely suits your needs. It identifies the face, nose and mouth. It just added gender detection, though it's not 100%, something that was also true of Face.com, to the chagrin of some of my apparently more feminine male friends. My favorite feature, facial mood detection, is not implemented nor on the roadmap. Smile detection is expected, but no timeline is given.

To be a serious face API, you need to be able to do face recognition in addition to detection. According to the LambdaLabs site, that is coming July 30.

Face.comFace detection and recognition are not simple problems. In my discussions with Face.com, it was clear the company thought highly of its technology. "The new face recognition algorithm uses a group of new techniques to boost results by 30%," Face.com's Gil Hirsch told me in March. "We're used to increments of 3% per year. It's mostly focusing on reducing false positives." Among Face.com's methods is converting photos to 3D to make a map of the face.

It's unclear whether Face.com's technology really is as great as its CEO thinks (there were questionable facial age detection results). Even more unclear is whether the team behind LambdaLabs can recreate it in a couple weeks. But I'm sure glad they're trying.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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tanya

Another option for some face.com developers is the face recognition API from BioID. Since BioID's technology was developed for authentication it won't support all the features of face.com like identifying multiple points on the face, or attributes like gender, age, mood, etc., and face detection is stricter.

On the other hand, it also supports voice recognition, the face recognition algorithm is much better and liveness detection is built in, which can tell the difference between a live face and a photo. It can extract high-quality face images, and can also be used for applications such as face or voice similarity search, fraud detection, image quality checks for passport photos or mugshots, and of course authentication.

For a detailed comparison, check out
https://www.bioid.com/solutions/solutions-by-application/bioid-for-faced...

Just tried all 3 (rekognition, lambda and face.com - their playground page is still up) on a same set of images:

Lambda: 0 out of 10
Rekognition 2 out of 10
Face.com 8 out of 10
(tried one simple image on BIOID, but got lot's of errors about bad image quality/contrast/lighting/size/etc. and no actual results)

So I guess there is no real alternative to Face.com just yet. Maybe FB will bring it back somehow...