Los Angeles -- In a surprising turn of events, recently acquired Face.com's facial recognition technology app by social-networking giant Facebook, has been pulled out from the iPhone app store following the $60 million acquisition.
Barely a month back, Face.com disclosed that it had been acquired by Facebook. And in the related blog post, Face.com founder Gil Hirsch explained exactly what was going to happen to the company's services going forward:
"Now, lots of developers use Face.com technology to power various apps and make wonderful products. We love you guys, and the plan is to continue to support our developer community. If there are new developments you can expect to hear from us here, on the developer blog, and through our developer newsletter," Hirsch wrote.
Only, not so much anymore. While such a move is not that astonishing, third-party developers may well have reason to be upset seeing as just weeks ago the company said that it would continue to support them.
In an email sent out to developers who utilize the APIs, the company says:
"We are excited to move forward to work with all our friends at Facebook. Part of this process includes closing down other products and services that we are no longer able to support, and this includes the Face.com developers API."
This gives an impression like a stark contrast the statement issued by Face.com on 18 June, when the Facebook deal was announced.
In fact, as one might imagine, the response from Face.com's community -- which, according to the company, consists of more than tens of thousands of developers who have signed up for API tokens -- is less than positive.
"That is a big bummer! I was going to run a project on their API in about six weeks," wrote Hacker News user PanMan. "Also surprising given their announcement at acquisition they would support existing developers. Anybody knows of a replacement? How hard is it to set up opencv? And how well will it work?"
Apart from this is another commotion, Face.com has also removed its iOS app "KLIK" from the app store. The app, which empowered users to tag Facebook friends in photos even before the shot was taken (thanks to Face.com's extensive facial analysis techniques), will officially go offline on July 20. Users have until then to download any photos they have been tagged in or photos they have taken.
"After this date Face.com will dispose of the data we collect in connection with your use of the KLIK app and will not be migrating data to Facebook. All your data will be deleted -- no exceptions," reads an announcement on Klik's site.
However, the shutting down of Face.com is no major surprise. In previous acquisitions by Facebook, the company's senior management has been transferred to Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California and all independent activities have been discontinued including use of an independent brand.
Only, with the exclusion of the very large acquisition of Instagram, Facebook has closed down all the other companies it acquired. This includes its first and only other acquisition in Israel, Snaptu, which it purchased in March 2011 for $70 million. Snaptu's app provides ordinary mobile phones (not smartphones) easy access to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
In the end, there is still a ray of hope, in its email to developers, Face.com says: "Communicating with and learning from the developer community has always been one of the best parts of working at Face. We are hoping to interact with you in the future as part of Facebook's developer network, and we want to thank you for your support and for using our services."