This free software even recognizes the same person at different ages.
I discovered this by accident. I was scanning old family photos from one of those shoe boxes of unmarked and unnamed photos that every family seems to possess. After scanning, I uploaded the photos to a private and unlisted Picasa Web Album to share with my cousins so that we could collaborate on trying to determine who was in the photos.I enabled name tagging** so I could name those people in the photos whose names I did know. I thought name tagging would be a good idea to keep us organized. After enabling name tagging, you can hover over a face in a photo in the Picasa web album, click, and type the name the person.
Then I discovered that after name tags are enabled, Picasa Web Albums will look for similar faces in your photo collection using its photo recognition software. Picasa shows an Add name tags button on the My Photos tab along with the number of untagged faces that were detected in the online photo gallery.
The Add Name Tag feature groups similar faces together. Its purpose is to let users tag photos with names a batch at a time, but for genealogists trying to figure out who is who in old photos, it aids in finding all photos of the same person - even at different ages. Then it suggests the name of the person in this batch of photos based on face recognition similarity to other photos.
It was a very impressive moment when Picasa presented me with a large array of photos with the same face, and then suggested a name which turned out to be correct.
I can't begin to say how helpful this was in naming people in my old family photographs. I had been manually going through the photos comparing ears and noses and eyebrows and so on to find all the photos of the same person. Google did this for me automatically.
Google Picasa makes photo name suggestions based on its software - it is up to the user to decide if the person in the photos are the same and that the names are correct. Face recognition is a tool but does not replace human judgment.
Once photographic subjects are named, you can click on a name to see all the photos of that person in your albums even if that person appears in a photo with others.
Picasa's name tags are very helpful but not perfect. The face recognition software works best if the subject is facing the camera. There is a limit to the success of face recognition when the subject is in the shadows or is in profile. And it didn't get all the photos correct. Sometimes in my case, it confused brothers; sometimes it didn't recognize the person at all, but still, oh, what a help.
Sometimes Google found all the photos of one person, but we still didn't know who it was.
But, overall, I found the Picasa photo recognition software extremely helpful in naming the people in my old family photos.
**To Enable Tagging in Google Picasa Web Albums
- Click Settings at the top right of the page.
- Click on the Privacy and Permissions tab.
- Web Check the box next to 'Use name tags to name people in my photos.