Google stepped up yesterday with two launches: a web browser (Chrome) and updated versions of PicasaWeb and Picasa 3 picture management software. I won’t comment much on Chrome, except that it seems very fast and wheel-like scrolling up doesn’t work on my laptop’s touchpad… and I miss the dedicated search box (I really do).
But the new PicasaWeb features something really cool: face recognition. It will analyze all your uploaded pictures and find faces, then group them together and ask for you to assign names/persons. This is not new, Riya’s been doing this for some time already, right? Yeah, but my experience with Riya wasn’t the greatest and I found it almost unusable while PicasaWeb simply… just works.
That’s WOW in my dictionary!
Maybe it’s because I already have pictures uploaded, maybe it’s because the interface is web-based, clean and easy to use. It only takes a couple of clicks and some writing – autocomplete helps – and there you have it: the faces have names. Usable, at last.
The downside is that the new software management app, Picasa 3, is still not up-to-date with those changes. It can filter pictures with faces but it’s unable to sync back name tags and info from PicasaWeb and let me search by persons. But it’s still in beta and I imagine this will come soon.