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Creepy Google Chrome extension knows when you look away from your screen

You ever get the feeling that you are being watched, even when no one else is in the room? That’s silly, right? Like, there’s no way the computer is keeping tabs on what you are doing.

Well, we learned that computers with cameras could, in a way, spy on you. Remember a couple years ago when it was revealed Mark Zuckerberg had a piece of tape on the camera and microphone so that it couldn’t see or hear anything?

Turns out Facebook’s CEO was on to something, as spyware and other malicious software could lead the camera to turn on and start recording without your knowledge. Now, Google is banking on you wanting the computer to watch you.

There’s a reason, but are you OK with it?

The feature is part of an extension for Chrome, Google’s popular web browsing app. Called “FacePause,” it used a laptop’s front-facing camera to watch whoever is using the device.

FacePause can detect whether a person is watching a video or looking away from the screen, and will therefore play and pause videos accordingly. That’s pretty convenient, albeit in an incredibly creepy way.

Of course, there are some potential drawbacks, not even including the fact that the computer will be watching you.

For one, what if it reads things incorrectly? Maybe you quickly glanced away from the screen but don’t feel like having the video stop and start? Early feedback seems to indicate the extension works nicely when you are sitting directly in front of the camera, but is far from perfect.

Regardless, the idea of not having to press a button or key every time you want to pause the video is nice, but it’s also not such a burden that we needed a way around it. That may be especially true when you realize with the extension, your computer’s camera will be watching you for cues.

The extension was created by a German developer named Mattias Hemmingsson, and he himself admitted to not being all that trusting of webcams. The way he sees it, his creation is more of a way to test Chrome’s capabilities than a product people will adopt and use every day.

Are you interested in giving it a shot?

If you are intrigued enough by FacePause and want to see if it works, you will want to go into the Chrome Web Store and add it to your browser. Keep in mind it will only work on computers with a front-facing camera and as a third-party extension, it was not created by Google.

That Amazon Echo of yours? It’s been recording you

If you own an Amazon Echo, you probably know its strange secret. The device records a lot of what you say. Deep inside that dark tower, Echo keeps a vast trove of recordings. Your voice is preserved. Your friends’ voices are preserved. Click here to learn more about what Alexa knows.

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