Last night we transferred a few thousand of my daughter’s photos (she’s a picture taker and filled her last hard drive–it was admittedly small and old) from a Windows XP machine to a Windows 7 machine. (This isn’t about Windows 7 but I am really liking it) We’d put Picasa 3.5 onto the machine and let it start cranking through the photos. It indexed the pictures really fast, but the amazing thing it has is the facial recognition capability built into it.

Within seconds it was cropping faces out of every picture and displaying them. After training the program by naming a few images, it would go find other images of that person VERY ACCURATELY and put them into special people folders. You then continue to teach the program about it’s guesses but they are mostly spot-on right. I can’t tell you what a relief this is to me to have a program do this and I’m just starting it up on my computer which has loads of pictures of our children and trips on it.

I have to say this is so cool to be able to look at one of our children and see their progression from baby to toddler to childhood to teen all in one folder with a minimal amount of effort. I also have to say that the second coolest thing is when the program makes a mistake guessing who someone is and puts the picture right next to one of the other children and you can see the similarity of features that it’s picked out that you’ve never noticed before. It’s truly amazing. I just can’t believe it can accurately choose childhood and almost baby pictures from adult and teen pictures of a face. Very cool.

On a core duo 2.6 mhz processor, it took about 12 hours through the night to finish tagging photos and finally completed finished this morning. There is now a directory with a lot of unsorted photos but for every photo you identify, dozens disappear from the list as it has matched them in the background but wasn’t fully confident to put them into someone’s specific directory.

All in all, I think this piece of software is probably the one program I can no longer live without. Get it here and best of all, it’s FREE.

http://www.google.com/picasa/

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