Face Detection & Recognition Software (Free open source – Commercial)

So you are looking for face detection software. You hit the right place!

There are basically two approaches. The classical one is to get some code (source or compiled as a library) and use it within your own application.
A list of source codes, libraries, Software Development Kits, is listed below.
The second emerging approach is to use the power of the Internet, and call web or cloud services. Let’s start with the most modern concept:

WEB SERVICES for Face Detection & Recognition

By using web services, the client software does not need to bother about libraries or platform dependencies. It simply calls a web server, sends the images to process, and gets back the results. As long as real-time feedback is not an issue, this is an interesting new approach. (If you know of a Web Service that is not listed here, please contribute the information on the Contact page and it will get added).

  • BioID Face Recognition Web Service
    Service for identifying persons by face (and/or voice). Finds faces and sends back standardized face portraits. All methods can be tried with file upload or live webcam recording. There is also a free iOS and Android App offered to use the service for face login. Needs anonymous registration and is free for single users.
  • Betaface Web API
    Service for face and facial features finding and recognition. Web API including demos, documentation and samples of usage. Free for evaluation or education purposes as well as non-commercial projects.
  • Face++
    Face++ uses technologies of computer vision and data mining to provide 3 core vision services (Detection, Recognition, and Analysis). Free. Needs registration.
  • Microsoft Project Oxford
    Microsoft’s cloud-based face algorithms to detect and recognize human faces in images. Needs registration, currently free up to 5000 usages/month.
  • Google Vision APIGoogle Vision API for face label logo adult scene detection
    Google’s cloud-based image content analysis preview. Includes face detection (no recognition), but also other interesting things like logo detection, adult scene detection, and many others. Limited preview only, but free to use currently.
  • FaceR API
    Face recognition Web API from Animetrics, Inc. Offers face finding and recognition. Needs registration to obtain an API key.
  • Meerkat Facial Recognition
    Face recognition Web API. Free for up to 1000 calls/month.
  • DeepSight Computer Vision SDKNew facial recognition REST API
    Face detection & recognition service from BaseApp Systems, India.
  • FaceX Face Recognition APIsNew face recognition SDK (Software Development Kit) and Web Service for non commercial use
    Face detection/recognition service from Codeeverest Private Limited, India. Up to 5K “API calls” are free.

FREEWARE for face finding and facial recognition

The bad thing about the internet nowadays is, that you will not find much open source code around anymore. Nevertheless, here is a (hopefully growing) list of what’s available for free…

  • Google Mobile Vision APIFacial detection API for Android
    Android Mobile Vision API. This differs from the Google Vision API in that it runs on-device (i.e., no need to communicate with a cloud server). The API supports detecting frontal faces, faces in different poses (e.g., profiles), facial landmarks, etc. and can track faces in video.
  • Dlib C++ LibraryFree Facial recognition software library in C++
    Dlib is a general purpose cross-platform C++ library with many machine-learning related algorithms. Version 1.8 introduced the histogram-of-oriented-gradient (HOG) based object detection, a very powerful technique, very useful for detecting faces. Open Source, free download!
  • Imacondis Face SDK
    Imacondis Face SDK is a set of software development tools that allows the creation of applications for face detection, recognition and verification.
    Algorithms and SDK based on many years of research also conducted at Warsaw University of Technology. Trial version for non-commercial use.
  • A Modern Computer Vision Library (libccv)
    Includes a frontal face detector using SURF cascades. Source code in C is available at Github
  • LibfacedetectionFacedetection DLLs for Windows
    A fast binary library (DLL) for face detection and face landmark detection in images. Free of charge for any purpose (according to the author).
  • Facial landmark detector
    “flandmark” is an open source C library (with interface to MATLAB) implementing a facial landmark detector in static images. From the Center of Machine Perception, Czech Technical University, Prague.
  • Semantic Vision Technologies
    Face and facial features detection libraries for MS Windows. Free for non-commercial use! From Jacek Naruniec, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland.
  • Face Detection using Support Vector Machine (SVM)
    Includes both datasets and code for face detection using Support Vector Machines.
  • Rank Deficient Faces
    Face detection demo with library for MS Windows platforms.
  • Visage
    Visage is a human computer interface that aims to replace the traditional mouse with the face.
  • Face Tracking DLL from Carnegie Mellon
    The Advanced Multimedia Processing Lab (AMP) offers face tracking using color matching combined with deformable templates. Both DLL for Windows and static library for Linux.
  • SHORE: Real-time face detection program from FhG-IIS
    Demo from the Fraunhofer Institute IIS, Germany. Shows face tracking and detection using edge orientation matching. Fast multi-face finding capabilities. SDK available on demand.
  • Evaluation of Face Recognition Algorithms
    Resource for all researchers developing face recognition algorithms from Colorado State University. It provides a standard set of well known algorithms and established experimental protocols. Includes C source code for face recognition using PCA (Eigenfaces) and Gabor Wavelets!
  • OpenCV – Intel’s Open Source Computer Vision initiativeIntel OpenCV Face Recognition Software library Download
    Now this is really interesting: Intel initiates an open source community for computer vision. C++ source code for face recognition, motion tracking, and many others. There’s also a mailing list for contributors. Highly recommended! With source code.
    Visit OpenCV at Sourceforge
    Visit OpenCV forum at Yahoo
  • Computer Vision Source Code ComputerVision Face Login Detection Software Source Code Download
    Not really about face detection, but nevertheless a very useful collection of image processing code you might need when working in this area. With source code.


(as of Jun-11-2017)

There is a growing number of face recognition software vendors around who offer SDKs (Software Development Kits) for integrating their technology into own applications. Most of them offer the face finding part as an interface. Nevertheless, it might be hard to get such an SDK without payment…
(in alphabetical order:)

Company SDK Documentation
Betaface Face SDK Betaface SDK
FaceSDK FaceSDK Docs
VeriLook SDK
DeepSight SDK Latest Docs
Beyond Reality
Face SDK
Face SDK Docs
Face SDK
Technologies AB

Visage SDK

If you know of a commercial SDK about facial finding & recognition that is not listed here, please contribute the information on the Contact page and it will get added!