iPhoto Faces and Places deeper look

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iphoto_icon_thumbFace recognition. Wow. We have the same—if not better—technology as the local police station. How freakin’ cool is that? iPhoto is groundbreaking in the fact that you can train it to recognize someone’s face and know where you took the picture. Let me introduce you to Faces and Places.

Faces is the term apple has coined to describe a breathtaking new feature for your iPhoto software. What it does is allow you to group your photos together by who is in them. This is simply amazing, and it is only going to get better in the future. Yes, this first attempt will take a lot of user input, but when you’re done teaching your Mac who everyone is, you will be able to upload a photo and have it get filed away neatly with all the other photos of Tommy.

Yes, if you have two people in the photo, the photo gets filed under both of them or all three or four or however many faces can fit in a photo. Unfortunately, from all the information I have been able to gather, it does not work really great out-of-the-box. People who have had their hands on iPhoto ’09 are saying it needs a lot of user input for small objects such as toddlers and small adolescent children. It will not work with pets or babies, and one would have to assume that as your children grow you will need to update the software accordingly.

The way it is supposed to work when you install iPhoto ’09 and run faces for the first time, is that you pick a photo and it will identify the faces in it. You then type the name of the face in a box just below the face. Apple says to do it in a “few” photos and iPhoto will do the rest of the library for you. A few? I wonder if I am going to have to tag half of the 10,000 photos in my library or just 4 or 5. Let’s hope it is reasonable.

Places is the label for iPhoto’s newfound ability to organize your photos via a Geotag. If you have GPS enabled camera, or an iPhone, you can theoretically take a photo of the Eiffel Tower with your iPhone, upload it to flickr, Facebook, or Mobileme, and instantly your friends and family can make a couple of clicks and know your exact location and can see what you see. Places is going to require more user input than faces.

In order for places to work, you have to assign an area on the map, and iPhoto can then put a photo that you take in that geographic area to the name you designate for that area. Basically I would have to manually tag all 10,000 of my photos. Not going to happen. What I will do, however, is tag any new photos that I have so I can create a cross country album by state when I ride my motorcycle across the country next summer.

Apple and technology. What’s next? Online live video streaming from your iPhone? We are a firmware update away from it, people. Apple never ceases to amaze me. Love or hate them, they are the absolute standard for innovation.

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  • Galarina

    My iPhone app GeoLogTag is an all-in-one geotagging solution for Mac users. The geotagging workflow in combination with iPhoto's Places is very simple:
    1. GeoLogTag tracks your location while taking photos
    2. Download the photos to your Mac
    3. GeoLogTag geotags the photos over WiFi
    4. Import photos into iPhoto and they automatically show up on the Places map

    You can try this out with the free version of GeoLogTag. The only difference with the paying app is that logged locations are automatically removed after 2 hours.

    App Store: