Custom Search

Search My Download Corner

Monday, January 19, 2009

Picasa Web Albums Uses Facial Recognition

Picasa is a software application for organizing and editing digital photos, originally created by Idealab and now owned by Google. "Picasa" is a blend of the name of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, the phrase mi casa for "my house," and "pic" for pictures (personalized art). In July 2004, Google acquired Picasa and began offering Picasa for free download.

Picasa Web Albums (PWA) is a photo-sharing web application from Google, often compared to programs like Flickr and Zooomr. It allows users with accounts at Google to store and share 1 GB of photos for free. Users can purchase more storage space, which can be shared between Google services. No ads are shown on Picasa Web Albums, in either free or paid accounts. The Terms of Service permit Google to use the uploaded photos to display on the website or via RSS feeds, and also for promoting Google services royalty-free.

The Picasa desktop client has been released in version 3 with distinct changes in an Explore tag which lets you visually discover new pics by others. An interesting new feature is Picasa’s face recognition. Google acquired image recognition company Neven Vision On 15 August 2006 and has applied some of that technology to Picasa Web Albums. Clicking the “Try it” button below the Name Tags headline to the right will trigger a job with a progress bar, and you can check back a while later.

Once faces are found, you can switch to the People tab and tag them with names. In tested photos tagged like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and then uploaded more photos containing these persons, Google did not automatically tag them; what they do is find the rectangle within the photo containing a face, and then offer suggestions (sometimes correct, sometimes incorrect), so you’ll end up semi-manually identifying the remaining faces. All in all a useful feature as this lets you group and find your photos by the persons in them, but it would become even more useful if Google were able to automatically assign matches.

Another addition to Picasa Web Albums is a game called “Where in the World?”. Here your job is to try to guess where a given snapshot was taken by clicking on a world map. You’ll then see the distance to the actual location and get more points the closer your pick. The game looks neat but it would probably be more fun if they’d more often show you pictures for which there’s a realistic chance to know the location (e.g. a picture of a famous monument versus a picture of a more general shore scenery).

With the new Creative Commons licensing feature on Picasa Web Albums, you can choose a CC license for your images that enables you to share your work while retaining control over its use.

Also with the Map your photos feature you can see your photos arranged on a map, and show friends exactly where you took your best pictures. Simply type a location into the 'Place Taken' field when creating a new album, or refine a photo's placement using a drag-and-drop map. It's a great way to share photos from a summer vacation or road trip. For a quick peek at what results look like

Many users of the service have since long requested sub-albums, which are still unavailable and make the management of user albums impossible]. A lack of customer support or any form of direct contact with Google for paid customers has also been highly criticized.

Transfer, find, organize, edit, print, and share images, all with this easy-to-use product. Watch Picasa automatically organize all your pictures into elegant albums by date. Having all your photos in one place means no more time wasted searching for folders or files. The program works with JPEG, GIF, BMP, PSD, and movie files and is compatible with most digital cameras; it detects your USB driver and imports pictures into albums. Editing tools include cropping (standard or custom), removal of red-eye, and enhancing--even switching from color to black and white. Create slide shows set to your MP3s. Integration with Picasa's free Hello instant picture-sharing software lets you share hundreds of photos in seconds and chat in real time. E-mail photos with Picasa's built-in client to take the guesswork out of compressing images, and order photo-lab quality prints or print at home with no mistakes. You can also make instant backups to CD (or to other hard drives) of your photo collections, to organize your photos using labels and stars (just like with Gmail), to write captions for all pictures, and to organize videos as well as pictures.

Version 3 improves sharing and syncing online, enhances the collage tool, and adds a movie maker as part of a dozen changes. From Google:

View blog reactions


Post a Comment