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Latest Google Picasa Version Interesting

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Hey folks just downloaded the latest version of Google Picasa. They have added a major new feature to this edition - face recognition!

My computer is currently grinding through all my photos picking out all the faces and doing it's best to group them altogether. You then Put a name to the face and the rest, they say, is history!

Quite powerful features allow you to search for people, find photos with specific combinations and when looking at a group of people hovering over the face brings a box up with a name..

Working quite well so far although it is mixing up some images but these are easy to correct. Interestingly, the mix ups are generally between family members most of the time.

It also shows black or very dark areas of a photo as a face sometimes, which you would possibly discard as a mistake. Go back to the main photo though and boost the image and it will actually reveal there is a face hiding away in the shadows! Happens quite a bit with photo frames on shelves or public places with people lurking in the shadows etc..

I am finding this pretty amazing to watch tbh, and I think it is a very powerful and usfeul tool in general. However, the more cynical side of me is a little bit worried too! Google's user base is huuuge. Picasa will be quietly monitoring the effectiveness of it's recognition system (i.e. it will log every time you confirm or reject a match) on hundreds of thousands of pc's round the world and all this data will be sent back to Google for improvements.

You only have to look at the current wave of face recognition technology being developed, and specifically that being designed for retrofitting to current cctv technology to start questioning what Google might eventually decide to do with all this technology / data :blink:

Add to that the fact Google are expanding their umbrella at a huge rate! They are already thrashing Microsoft with mobile phone operating system (companies appear to be dropping in favour of Android, and it could eventually threaten other systems too!).

Lets be honest folks, this stuff is inevitable whether you like it or not. It's progress. However, for one company to have their fingers in so many pies, and conveniently cross-linked and successful pies too, then look at the recent threats of compulsory data requests from authorities and it does make you wonder how much longer Google can keep all this 'gold' to themselves...

If you want to try it out, you can choose not to participate in helping improve the software (and for the really paranoid something like Zonelarm will block any communication attempts) and I would certainly not upload to the albums thingy. Flickr is probably better anyway!

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the took away th preferance link so i can not set it to open pages in new browsers or 100 pages listings.

maybe they are trying to force me to up grand my browser but i might just upgrade my search engine and go elsewhere.

we need to kill big bro

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google is way too powerful. compettion commissions need to take action. china firewall is too heavy handed though.

The great firewall of China doesn't work as advertised though was in Beijing last month, Youtube / facebook / bbc etc is supposed to be banned , what happens is that almost EVERY internet cafe I went to (and I went to lots) has its home page set as a proxy to get through it , like secure tunnel etc even cops were sat next to me updating their facebook status.

Same thing with Turkey youtube is banned there but people just use proxies to get around it.

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