Facial recognition has its benefits, especially for certain groups and activities.

Benefit 1: Easier photo organization

Facial recognition boasts the end of long tagging sessions. If you upload all your photos and facial recognition software identifies and tags your friends, most of your work is done. Even less powerful software that only identifies and suggests tags, rather than tags automatically, can save a lot of time.

Benefit 2: Greater access to information

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then a picture associated with a database of internet data is worth an encyclopedia. You could learn all about someone with a single photo. This could be helpful for people who need a lot of information in a short period of time: for example, if you want to learn about a potential date, get some background on a job applicant, or find a long-lost friend or relative.

Facial recognition applications could have special significance for those with prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness. This condition makes it difficult or impossible to identify people. You may have met someone a hundred times, but if you have severe prosopagnosia, you won’t recognize him or her. And for those of us who just have trouble remembering faces, this wouldn’t be a bad thing, either.

Benefit 3: Criminal identification

If you have a database of known criminals, you can use facial recognition to cross-reference those faces against other databases of faces. With the right technology, you could scan a public area for wanted felons, for example, or see if any of them have signed up for Facebook. Even if you can try to hide from a criminal past by changing your name, it’s much harder to change your face. Thus facial recognition is already a valuable tool in law enforcements’ arsenal, and it’s only becoming more important.

Benefit 4: Money, money, money

If you’re an advertiser, there’s money in facial recognition. Photos are the key to unlocking a vault of valuable personal information. The more they know about a person or a segment, the better they can tailor their ads to target them, and the more successful these ads will be. Your data is worth its weight in gold.