Google’s Picasa Gets Face ID Update

September 4, 2008

Google was not resting on its laurels earlier this week. First, it announced its corporate video sharing platform, then it unveiled Chrome, and towards the end of the day rumblings of a vastly updated Picasa started to come out.

The Picasa news was clearly overshadowed by Chrome, but the new features are nonetheless impressive. Most dramatically, Picasa’s Web Albums will allow you to tag people in a photo, automatically. Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr may let you tag photos, or people in photos, but they make you do it manually, which can take quite a long time. The revamped Picasa doesn’t just search all your photos for faces — it also compares them and tells you which ones it thinks are the same person, thus allowing you to tag a person in several different photos in one step.

In our brief hands-on, Picasa performed quite admirably, even recognizing a few partially obscured faces correctly. It wasn’t perfect and incorrectly identified a few photos and failed to identify others at all, but we were still able to tag an album of 40-plus photos in under 10 minutes.

The Picasa desktop application also picked up a few new features this week, including a movie editor, a touch-up tool for clearing up skin blemishes and red-eye in photos, and a synchronization mode that lets you alter and tag photos in your Web album even if you’ve uploaded them from somewhere else.

Picasa is getting a little long in the tooth, Google shows it is serious about staying in the digital photo market with these updates.


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