Monday, April 12, 2010


If you don't use Picasa to work with your photos, you're missing out!

I remember when it first came out, I didn't understand it, and I definitely didn't like it. But that was years ago, and the people from Google really know how to make awesome user-friendly programs. And they're free, too!

The latest version of Picasa includes facial recognition. It scans the file folders on your hard drive (you can choose which ones you want it to scan) and finds the photos in them. Then it detects the faces in each photo and asks you who they are. You type in a name, and then it "learns!" It compares other faces it's scanned and guesses who it is, based on the faces you've named already!

It's so cool!

It's really sensitive. I have chosen not to name faces when I realize that they were the faces from photos hanging on the wall in the background of a photo!

It has a hard time with look-a-like families like mine. Lots of times it confuses me with my sister, Sara, and Jared and Luke, too. It's totally useless with my mom and her sister, which isn't too surprising. My kids can't tell them apart, either.

But what amazes me is that it recognizes Ryan clean-shaven, or with a beard or goatee. It recognizes Zachary with his dragon costume on. It even recognizes Zach when he's got his mouth wide open and shoving a cheese stick in!

So what do you do with all these photos when they're tagged? Well, you can choose to see all the photos of any one person. A few days ago, Ryan needed a photo of himself for an application. I just clicked "Ryan" in Picasa and it pulled up every photo of him that is on my hard drive. Then I cropped it to the right size (super easy in Picasa!) and emailed it to him (which you can also do directly from Picasa).

I discovered yesterday that you can select more than one person. I searched for photos of me and Ryan together. It pulled up all the photos that have both of us in them! Of course, most of those also had other people in them too. I'm not sure if you can exclude people yet.

And it has buttons that let you upload to Blogger or an online album with just a few clicks. Or you can email them. And you can download add-ons for several other functions. For example, Ryan's grandma has a Ceiva digital picture frame that connects to the internet and downloads photos that family members send to her. I can send photos directly from Picasa now that I downloaded a special button for Picasa. It's so amazing!

So if you don't use Picasa yet, you should give it a try!

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