Thursday, September 24, 2009

Picasa 3.5 with Facial Recognition Spookily Good


For years I've used Thumbsplus to organize my digital photos.  When Google first released Picasa, I downloaded it but didn't find anything in it I liked better than Thumbsplus.

Two days ago Google upgraded Picasa.  The new version has facial recognition in it.  The geek in me just had to try that out.

First it has to make a pass through all your photos on your hard drive and isolate out each face it can find in each photo.  While it is doing that, you can begin telling it who the person is.  Once you identify a face, it finds other photos with that person in it.  If it isn't confident enough in its match, it sets the photo aside and asks you if it really is who it thinks it is.

This takes a bit of time; it has been churning away now for over 24 hours and isn't even half done.  I do have thousands of photos going back over ten years though.

It is spooky how good it matches up faces.  I identified my son in a photo when he was 18, and it linked up a baby photo of him.  Oddly, it asked about photos of him taken a few months from the first photo I identified as him.  And its missed some of his, but each time I label one as him, it gets better.

As a test, I am eager to see how it does with two siblings I have photos of going back over 10 years. They are four years apart and the younger looks exactly like the other did at that age.  So far they have not fooled Picasa.

Download Picasa 3.5.  It's free.

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