Firefox Demo: Facial Detection Within Videos

Earlier this week, we wrote about the tech side of open video efforts, which are poised to push forward the possibilities for use of video by making it native to web browsers.

Here’s a demo we got from Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox, that shows one such possibility. Mozilla evangelist Paul Rouget created an in-video facial detection algorithm using JavaScript that picks up on faces in a video playing within a browser using HTML 5, and notes the color of the shirt below the face. Then, in any other video loaded in the browser with that same facial detection algorithm, that face can be identified as one and the same. Beltzner emphasized that this was put together in just one night.

With the incorporation of actual facial recognition technology, you could see this being quite cool — simple use cases might include security cameras or easy Facebook tagging. Though it’s true that developers have already made many cool things with existing video players like Flash (s ADBE) and Silverlight (s MSFT), the inclusion of video as an element in the coming HTML 5 means that video can be more flexibly manipulated and extended across web sites, without ever downloading a plug-in.

Another Mozilla evangelist, Chris Blizzard, used Rouget’s facial detection demo to show how a person’s latest Twitter update might be overlaid onto a video above their head, once their face has been recognized. For those interested in investigating this further, here’s his longer demo from the Open Video Conference last weekend.

Second Life Is Social Media

Despite all of the hype about Second Life, followed by the Second Life bashing, followed by some more hype, and now the latest “Second Life is dead” pronouncements, the 3-D virtual world owned by Linden Lab is still breathing. More importantly, I feel strongly — as do many others — that Second Life is an important, and often overlooked, aspect of social media marketing.

Exclusive: Second Life Starts To Grow Again

They say numbers don’t lie, and in recent months the number of people populating virtual world Second Life has started to rise again. Mark Kingdon, CEO of parent company Linden Lab, has been touting the return to steady user growth; to back up his claims, he shared with us the chart below, which tracks the number of unique repeat logins into Second Life on a month-by-month basis (it doesn’t include new signups during each month.) That number stood at 731,000 as of the end of March, the result of an upward climb that began in August 2008. Read More about Exclusive: Second Life Starts To Grow Again