By Michael O’Connell

Ever come across an application on the web that makes you go “Oh wow?” That’s what happened when I saw this link in an interesting brief on the 10,000 Words feed.

The photo application allows you to pick out faces from a large crowd. Not a new idea, but the resolution on the Major League Baseball example or the Glastonbury image does have a lot of wow factor.

What use could a journalist use this application for, I wonder. If you’re writing an article about the game, you could use the tagging to see who the person was in seat 25 row F who caught the record-setting home run. Of course, if the team allowed you to access their ticket sales records, you could find out the name of the person whose charge card bought that seat. The photo tagging could answer if the card holder or a family member was sitting in that particular seat.

You could think of other instances where high-resolution tagging from large crowds could be useful, such as images of disasters or events where you needed to determine if a person was there or not.

Put a high-resolution photo like this on your website and you could allow visitors to tag themselves and fill in the blanks, as it were, of who was at an event. Identifying a whole baseball stadium is pretty ridiculous, but if you’re covering a conference, this could be very useful. Visitors could identify themselves and link to their own website, e-mail address, Facebook page, etc.

These high resolution photos also raise questions about privacy. For journalists sneaking out to an afternoon baseball game, this is bad news. Your boss could scan the crowd and see if you were at the game rather than at an event you were supposed to cover. No more being an anonymous member of the crowd.

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