Coca-Cola wants you to know that while different, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Classic have the same syrup flowing through its veins. To help illustrate this commonality, Coca-Cola Classic launched a Facebook application to introduce you to your online look alike, or in their terms, doppelganger (German for a double).
The application, the Facial Profiler, launched Dec. 3, allowing members to upload their photos and find their twin. Users submit their images to help stock the database with enough photos so that online likenesses are easily found. Once an image is put into the database, the facial features are measured and categorized. The more images, the greater the chance a match will be found. Users are able to vote on the "matches" via a rating, which will help developers refine the program as time progresses.
As most users know by now, the total number of Facebook members just passed 350 million, according to Mark Zuckerberg's Open Letter. Thus, in time, there will be a match for everyone. This is expected to spark users' interest to reach out to their "cyber-twin" and form a relationship.
To see how well the application worked, I added it, thinking I would be able to laugh at the match provided. While waiting, I listened to the background music, which was a "spooky terminator" mix. In all honestly, it was pretty weird to watch the app scan my Facebook pages, combing for pictures that were solo profile photos of yours truly, or close-ups of me with someone else. The application is smart enough to not only figure out who I am but also choose me over pictures of my brothers who have similar features. After the the scan is complete, the app asks for a webcam photo or an image from the hard drive to further improve the chances of finding a match.
I am happy to report I am unique. I deleted the application immediately after trying it as one of the user requirements I had to agree to in order to allow Coke to send e-mails to my Facebook account. As I'm unable to read and return my current correspondence on a timely basis, I didn't need an application sending me daily e-mails. I can only take so much.
While the app is pretty cool, I wonder what is going to happen when a pair of identical twins find one another using the application? It's bound to happen. What if a user sets up an account with images of someone for whom they're searching? Are lawsuits lurking, waiting for the right facial match? Knowing the software is based on similar applications used by law enforcement to locate individuals among large populations doesn't allay these questions.