Google’s Picasa Takes On Facial Recognition

    September 2, 2008

Today’s cameras can make taking a good picture as easy as pushing a single button.  Uploading, labeling, and sharing the photo is where things are more likely to get messy.  Google’s simplifying this by introducing facial recognition technology to Picasa.

Snap away for as long as you like and don’t worry if the subjects have 17-consonant surnames.  Stephen Shankland reports, "The ‘name tag’ feature presents users with collections of photos with what it judges to be the same person, then lets them click a button to affix a name.  Once photographic subjects are named, users can browse an album of that individual on the fly."


This feature may not be perfect; remember that the face-blurring technology used by Street View has gone after horses and manhole covers.  Still, a lot of people are bound to find it an interesting and timesaving tool.

People who don’t are being accommodated, too.  Shankland writes, "Google is proceeding somewhat cautiously.  Picasa users must specifically enable the name tag feature, and default name tags aren’t shared publicly.  Picasa users may only tag photos in their own account."

The facial recognition feature (which stems from the 2006 acquisition of Neven Vision) should launch at 3 PM Eastern time today.