New iLife and face recognition

Apple’s new iLife has been receiving lots of attention, particularly their iPhoto that has many new features. I don;t have this so I am relying currently only on the media to inform me — intend to get it sometime soon — maybe in February. There is very nice write-up on this bt Walt Mossberg of WSJ. Mossberg definitely likes the system but can not help being a bit down on much touted face recognition:

But, in my opinion, the new face-recognition system isn’t up to Apple’s self-proclaimed high standards, and isn’t reliable enough to justify an upgrade all by itself.

Face recognition has been a problem for many such systems who claimed that they can do it or will do it. Just a couple years ago Riya.com started with many strong claims about the role of faces and how they will revolutionize photo search on web by developing strong face recogntion technology. They won lots of funding, but ended up becoming Like.com where they only search of objects in catalogs.

Face reognition is a difficult problem — yes it is an understatement. In my opinion, unless one uses lots of context and metadata, along with solid image understanding technology, face recognition will not be impressive. Most face recognition systems are designed to use strong image understanding but very little context and metadata. Hopefully this will change sometime soon. Because for most humans, other humans are the most important objects. Face recognition is the most important ability that humans are trained from early childhood. It is only natural to think that in photo organization, face recognition may play a very key role.

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