So, the fruit company has a new series of commercials out, four of them, that are designed to counter the ‘find a laptop’ series that Microsoft recently put out. One of the fruit company commercials, ‘stacks’, show “PC” looking through stacks of photos for a specific persons photo. Enter smug ‘Mac’, who begins explaining the breakthrough feature of ‘iPhoto’: facial recognition. “PC” gets flustered and has a brilliant idea: let ‘Mac’ sort the photos. Geeze. This commercial puts forth the notion that iPhoto was first to have this feature and that it is not on Windows. Riiight. Only problem is, the commercial is a lie. Windows Live Photo Gallery has had the feature for awhile now. And the commercial also neglects to tell you that it takes some work to make the feature worthwhile.
Apparently, no matter what software you use, you have to train it to recognize the face and it is not always accurate. That said, it is pretty darn accurate as is. The Live Photo Gallery has problems with faces that are at angles. Using my own son, I’ve had to train it with several photos of him at different angles and glasses can throw it off. My son wears prescription glasses and prescription sunglasses. Both will throw off the recognition. I had to use several photos of both types of glasses. However, once that is done, it seems to be picking up on his face much better.
To make this work, you preview a photo and on the right side of the window, there’s the ‘People Tags’ area. You have several choices: Add people tags, That’s Me! and a list of known people tags, if any. If the photo is of you, simply click the That’s Me! link and then click the highlight square around your face. If it someone else who is not already listed, click Add People Tags and then draw a square around the face you want to tag then select the name from the list that pops up or enter a new name. Otherwise, if the name is in the list, simply select the name from the list.
To see photos by person, on the left side of the gallery, under People Tags, click the name you want. If you don’t see it, then click ‘other contacts’ then find the name. The photos will then filter on that tag and you’ll see all that it found.
This feature works well, but, as I said, it does take a little bit of work and you have to tag each photo. I think the iPhoto feature works similarly, contrary to that commercial.
Windows Live Photo Gallery is very nice photo management application. Best of all, it is free. You do have to download it, but that is a very small price to pay for such a full featured application. The facial recognition and the panoramic stitch feature alone would be worth buying. That they are part of the application is a nice bonus. And, so far, the minimal editing features have sufficed for about 75% of what I need to do with my photos. Adobe Photoshop Elements takes care of most of what Live Photo Gallery cannot do.
As for the fruit company commercials…they are funny for the first time you see them. After that, they just get old, dried up and shriveled…just likes apples tend to do.