Google buying face recognition firm Viewdle

Google may use Viewdle’s technology to add photo tagging across its services.

Google is close to completing its deal to buy Viewdle, a Ukrainian firm that provides facial recognition technology that automatically tags photos, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The acquisition, which has been in the works for more than a year, is expected to close this week, the person said.

Representatives from Google and Viewdle declined to comment.

The move makes sense for Google, allowing the company to provide a way for users of Google+, Android, Picasa and other services on a range of devices to easily (even, automatically) tag photos of friends. Viewdle’s SocialCamera app automatically tags Facebook friends and the company also has released an Android game called Third Eye.

Facebook also has made a play in this space, buying earlier this year bringing its Photo Tagger auto-tagging app into the company.

The deal, which could close as soon as tomorrow, was started with talks between Motorola and Viewdle before the handset maker was acquired by Google last year, according to the source, who asked not to be named. The purchase price is toward the high end of a $30 million to $45 million range speculated on by The Next Web, according to the source.
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