Its been an exciting week thanks to Google. On Wednesday they released a new browser – Chrome – and also introduced some new features in Picasa – the biggest of which is face recognition.
What I really miss in Chrome, though, is the ability to extend it using plugins. I especially miss the Greasemonkey which makes some sites like Gmail and Flickr much better.
In all the hype about Chrome, Picasa’s new features seem to have been overlooked. I personally found the face-recognition feature really great. I uploaded a ton of party pics from ISB days onto Picasa Web to test it out. And I was blown away…
It automatically detects all faces in the uploaded pictures and asks you to tag them with names. After you’ve tagged a few it gets better at recognising who’s who and gives you appropriate suggestions. It doesn’t automatically tag photos though. There were a small number of false suggestions and non-faces, but not so many that you get frustrated. In about an hour I was able to tag about 700 faces in my photos. Once you’ve tagged photos, Picasa can display the names of the people in your photos on a sidebar and clicking on them takes you to a gallery of all photos of that person.
The privacy features here are cool too and you can select whether you want to show these name tags to the world or not.
I like this feature so much that I’m probably going to upload all my people pictures to Picasa instead of Flickr when I need to share them with others…
Picasa’s desktop software has also been upgraded to version 3 and one of the best new features is the ability to sync folders between your desktop and Picasa Web. Apparently, any changes you make on your computer will automatically be synced with the web galleries.
A replacement to Window’s default picture viewer is also included with Picasa 3. I tried it and am still not too sure whether I like it better or not.
I’m going to test both these softwares more over the weekend so stay tuned for updates…