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'Watch Dogs 2' web app tries to reveal secrets in your selfies

Apparently, advertisers own me.
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Ubisoft is no stranger to producing poignant on the surface, but ultimately vapid marketing for its hacker-centric Watch Dogs series. And the latest example of that is a selfie analyzer for the upcoming sequel. The pitch is that your self-portraiture reveals a lot of hidden info about you, and uploading a picture to the web app will reveal it. Stuff like your age, what your picture says about you to employers, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, political organizations and police databases -- info based on details in your photos. That's in theory, of course. In practice the results don't pan out so well.

A handful of the Engadget crew tried it out and the results didn't exactly instill a lot of worry. For example, it identified most of us as a "bully" in terms of what an employer might think -- something that the sample picture from Ubiblog was classified as, too. It was also hilariously inaccurate at guessing age and how a bank might view you. Uploading my non-smiling byline pic gave me the same result as a photo I took of a friend grinning like an idiot: "Financial institutions see: A million dollar smile. Your selfie is like driving up to a bank in a luxury car. The moneymen could pounce, stopping at nothing to 'diversify your portfolio' while emptying your pockets."

Sure!

It works a bit better than the machine recognition software Microsoft has released to the web, but that isn't saying much. In a vacuum the Watch Dogs app is kind of neat, but the seams are pretty blatant once you start testing for them. It's a safe bet that if the government has a version of this (let's be honest, it probably does), that it's much more robust. But, for now maybe rest easy about a marketing company making an online ad, starring you, like the one below.

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Over the past decade, Timothy’s covered everything from drag shows to heavy metal, and he even debunked a local ghost story before joining Engadget in 2013. He’s an A/V enthusiast who adores physical media, much to the chagrin of his available shelf space. Movies by David Fincher and music from Amon Tobin, Deftones, Run the Jewels and Trent Reznor are his favorites. He has a complicated relationship with photography too and shares an exact birth date with Katy Perry.

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