March 24th, 2010 @ 00:53

Since Sunday I have been testing Picasa web face recognition on my set of pictures. After an hour of initial processing, I was presented an interface showing a list of cluster of faces, which I have to check, remove false-positives and name. While it seemed to work great for the very first clusters (which correctly grouped about 50 to 100 faces of the same persons), it quickly appeared that the whole thing was not that great.

Here are a few rants :

  • It seems to be heavily influenced by the face expression and angle (i.e. it’ll often make two clusters of faces of the same person depending on whether it looks tilted to the left or to the right).
  • It doesn’t reconsider the clustering after the initial processing : I’m pretty sure that after tagging a bunch of clusters of the same person, it could easily merge the remaining clusters into a single one.
  • It keeps giving me “communication errors”. I’m used to the “click and it’s immediately there” scenario with google services, and I have to say that this service is definitely not a good example. About two thirds of my actions result in such an error, which takes about 10 seconds to arrive ; successful actions also take several seconds (5 to 10) to complete, which is not really efficient when you have pictures of about 800 different persons which gives clusters of 1/2 faces you just want to ignore and that it takes about 20 second per cluster to get it actually ignored.

I know this is still in development, so the actual recognition problems are ok, but meh, the communication errors are really really annoying…

Update (03/25/10) : I don’t know if they fixed the problem or if it was just pure luck, but I was able to tag 1500 faces without a single problem in about half an hour. Yeepee !