iPhoto 09 recognizes faces... even cats'


I don't know why it surprised me, but one of the best things about upgrading to a new unibody MacBook Pro was finding a new version of iPhoto installed on the machine. Oh, sure, I knew I could have technically upgraded iPhoto at any time: it's part of the iLife package. But I guess it just never occurred to me that Apple would spend time improving it, so I was delighted to discover how much better the new iPhoto kept untagged photos organized. I promised to keep my eye on future upgrades.

A month later, another update to iPhoto comes down the pipe, this time with facial recognition technology, which automatically searches your photos for faces, asks you to identify each one once and then easily bring up any past or future photos that feature a certain visage, no matter how dollsome or hideous.

It sounded pretty neat, but this is even better: it also works on felines. I imagine a great project here: drag in every LOLCat photo on the Internet and finally compile a definitive "Who's Who" off quasi-illiterate, cheeseburger loving doofus cats.

iPhoto's Faces recognizes cats [Maclife]

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  1. I was really hoping there would be some way to upgrade to iPhoto ’09 without having to fork out for the whole iLife suite again, as I never use most of the rest of that stuff. Alas, it seems not. This stuff is crazy cool though!

  2. I’ve never been a machead, but this almost makes me want to get iphoto. Now if only facebook had such amazing technology…

  3. To quote South Park,

    “Google” did it!

    Picassa’s (or their online equivalent, I can’t remember which) has been using facial recognition for a while now.

    You mac heads need to check out what the other evil empire is up too.

  4. That idea of a kitty face db reminds me of that guy who decided for his grad school thesis to map out the nation’s fiber-optic/internet trunk lines. After he created his massive db, the gov’t realized it was a national security threat and made much of it classified.

    I would be fearful that the feline head database would also be shutdown under the auspices of homeland security…

  5. Hmm, how well does this work with, say, low-contrast, high-angle CCTV pictures and a database of, oh, sixty million faces?

  6. #5, Nelson.C: Not at all.

    Current face recognition works fine for high-res, well-lit, frontal images with no occlusions.
    You can get 99% correct recognition ratio or more if your database (set of faces to look for) is small enough.

    CCTV images? Forget it. Even with a database of about a dozen people, today’s state-of-the-art algorithms are wrong more often than not. (At least when someone besides the inventor is doing the experiment, that is.)

    60 million faces? You have got to be kidding – that won’t work even with high-res, well-lit, frontal images with no occlusions.

    The top performer in terms of face recognition is the human brain, and we can’t recognise more than (pulling this out of my arse) a few thousand individuals, tops.

  7. Spazzm, that’s kind of what I thought, but I can see security software specialists using this as a demo to con high-value contracts out of the government.

  8. Nelson.C, yes. I wouldn’t really mind, if it wasn’t siphoning money away from legitimate AI research.

  9. Brownlee, you’ve got some beautiful Kittehz.

    Most of ’em are, of course, but the last non-Persian all white cat I new was completely deranged. Lola looks content. And Unknown Face looks way too smart, possibly dangerously so.

    Waaaaaaitaminit… has Lola provided a visage to some LOLz? That lil’ icon above the main image in the full size link looks suspiciously familiar.

  10. “Macheads”, “Mac heads”?! We prefer “Macintosh-Americans”, or “Appleistas”. Or “personal computer users”.

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