Picasa 3 and its Facial Recognition

Picasa Logo I finally got around to importing all my photo albums into Picasa. The main reason I decided to go with Picasa is that I wanted a simple solution for sharing pictures and Picasa Web Albums won out after comparing to the likes of Flickr and Photobucket. For some reason I really dislike Flickr’s user interface. I would much prefer PhotoSleeve, but we all know what happened to that.

I also found a Picasa Facebook plugin that would allow me to upload photos directly to Facebook called: Picasa Uploader on Facebook. One thing I really missed about PhotoSleeve was that I was able to just select photos off the website and tell it to send to Facebook. That is not possible with Picasa Web Albums.

One of the features I wanted to play with was the facial recognition and I finally found some time this weekend. It took it about 4 hours to import about 25GB of photos (ranging from 2000 to 2010) and to detect the faces. It might’ve actually taken more time, but I was out having dinner with Xyon and Chad. Overall my impression of the facial recognition feature is that it’s pretty neat. It does a pretty decent job, but with some funky quirks.

First besides detecting faces, it also detects paintings, drawings, photos, television, posters and so on. I don’t blame it since I presume there really isn’t a easy way for the computer to determine stuff like that. It was funny when it detected the Taboo happy face. The weirdest one so far is for some reason it detected some wires and part of my motherboard to be a face:

wire face

Not quite sure how the above image represents a face.

Another really funny thing is it sometimes puts the most random pictures into someone else’s bucket. First of all, the face looks nothing like the person it associated it with. Gender is different, hair is different, even skin color is different. It does allow you to verify if it’s not very sure if the person is who it thinks it is, but I’ve noticed there have been ones where it was sure, stuck in the middle of 100 photos (very hard to detect).

One really annoying thing is that there isn’t really any quick shortcut/hot keys to ignore faces (either people I don’t know or don’t care about labeling). Either I have to do the context-menu key or use the mouse, which are both annoying, especially when I have over 5000 faces left to identify. Hopefully by identifying more, they’ll drop in batches as they’ll be able to identify more faces as I teach it.

Going through the photos have made me quite nostalgic, remembering both happy and sad memories. I think I’ll call it a night and go watch some How I Met Your Mother. Who knows when I’ll resume identifying faces.

I’ll end this post with the polar bear face it detected and the original image:

polar bear face

polar bear bandit plush

Now that polar bear’s got attitude! (-_^x)

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