The linked article does an excellent job of outlining applications that flow from the increased ability of software to make sense of non-textual, optical/image-based inputs. Biometrics like facial recognition are just the beginning.
Rituparna Chatterjee, the article's author, places facial recognition in its proper context here:
While DNA and fingerprints remain the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's favoured means of identification, it's now also using facial recognition. "Image Processing is an important technology for investigation," says Bill Casey, program manager of the FBI's Biometric Center of Excellence.She is also perceptive in her observations of how Google has been showing interest in image processing technology. It's an article well worth reading in its entirety.
"When hunting for a criminal, we look through our database of over nine million photos for possible investigative leads." Casey shares how his colleagues recently nabbed a double-homicide suspect by comparing his photo with the US Department of Motor Vehicles' local database of 30 million photos in the state of North Carolina.
Google debates face recognition technology
Biometrics, object recognition and search