HOME   |  


December 14, 2011

Spy software on your desktop

When I replaced my years-old version of iPhoto with iPhoto '11 last week, a new feature blew me away. Apple's photo-organizing software has built in face recognition. The feature, not surprisingly, is called "Faces." In a minute or two it found about 8,000 faces in my 11,000 photos. Then it started showing them to me in small groups on a "corkboard" and asking me to identify them by typing a name.

Three photos labeled 'unnamed'To get started, click the "unnamed" label and type the person's name. Once underway, just typing the first letter brings up your list of names to speed the process along.

Show me more

Three photos with namesAfter you've gone through a few sets of photos the software begins matching names with faces.

Clicking on it's "right" or "wrong" choices becomes strangely addictive.

Anytime I start this process (and remember, I had about 8,000 unidentified faces) I always end up spending way more time than I intended. It's a combination of wanting to see more faces with the game-like fun of seeing if the software gets it right. Which it doesn't always (see below).


Set of photosDespite occasional goofy mistakes like these, the fact that anyone can have this technology on a home computer is nothing short of amazing.

I'll be that ten years ago only CIA and FBI agents had this sort of software.

Top of page   |  small speech balloons



2007 April-December

2008 January-December

2009 January-December

2010 January-December

2011 January-May

Video icon Video  Audio Audio