App Development Platform Gets Enhanced Face Scanning

An app development platform for businesses has just announced an upgrade to its platform that includes enhanced facial biometrics capabilities.

The upgrade concerns the Firebase platform’s machine learning-oriented ML Kit, which offers developers APIs to help them take advantage of technologies including text recognition and face detection. In a blog post announcing the upgrades to Firebase, Head of Product Francis Ma explained that the face detection API now has an enhanced “face contours” capability that allows an AI system to detect over 100 “detailed points in and around a user’s face,” allowing developers to build overlay masks a la Apple’s animojis.

Implicit in that capability is the kind of biometric analysis that could also allow for facial recognition, though Ma’s blog post makes no mention of that particular application. In any case, Firebase’s incorporation of enhanced facial analysis capabilities reflects the growing role that face biometrics has to play in consumer-facing technology, whether for phone unlocking or for more fun experiences such as animoji-style overlays.

Other new features of the upgraded Firebase platform include the forthcoming launch of Google Cloud Platform support packages, the immediate release of a REST-based Firebase Management API, emulators for local app testing, and an improved Remote Config system, among others.