Google’s People Manager

Picasa People ManagerSo you have taken thousands of photographs, in fact maybe in the tens of thousands. It is hard to organize these manually. However you put it into different folders, organized by months and years, it is still hard to find a photo you want when you want. Therein you will need a Photo organizer. There are many, two that springs to mind are the Adobe Photoshop and then, of course, Google’s Picasa. Picasa is free and should meet most needs for organizing, viewing and basic editing. I have both and in fact I have now-a-days rarely used Photoshop. Picasa does what I want. However yesterday I stumbled across a feature in Picasa called the People Manager. I had seen it in the past when I had opened Picasa. It had asked me to name ‘faces’ that it picked. I was lazy thinking I have nearly 20-thousand photos. Who has the time to tag each and every photo with people’s faces?  Enter the People Manager. You don’t have to do anything to get this feature. It is already there. Just make sure you have the latest version of Picasa. In the Tools menu, you will see People Manager. For Picasa to recognize faces, you have to let it know that you want to. In the list of folders that you have Picasa scanning automatically, by default it should be setup to recognize faces.

Anyway, yesterday I went ahead and named a few faces. You will start seeing the list of people on the left hand side. This is a hide-able panel by itself. Immediately after I added a tag to my photo, People Manager put an asterisk (*) by my name. This indicates it automatically picked up matching faces after scanning my pictures collection. I was amazed how accurate it was. In fact, tagging my son’s later years’ photos led it to accurately recognize his baby pictures. Once you tell Picasa to scan for faces, it takes a while depending on the size of your collection and it puts each unique face in a people ‘folder’ calling it Unnamed. You have to either associate with a known name or create a new name. It is fairly intuitive and in a matter of minutes I had many of the family and friends I have photos of cleanly organized by name.

Now, the biggest advantage of People Manager is say, if you want to find all your son’s friend’s photos. How on earth could you have organized this yourself. Because he could be with other friends in some of the photos and organizing by name on the file system is just impossible. Now, all you need to do is expand the people tag by his name and lo and behold, you will find all of his photos in place, whether he is by himself or in a group. This is a great way to make a colage and present it to him, say, on his birthday. And it was amazing to find that it identified over 2000 photos of my son and once it was all in (as a collection),  I could just create a movie and see how he had progressed from baby to young adult.

This article is not about how exactly to use People Manager, but I wanted you to be aware that this is a great feature you got to start using. Since People Manager picks up faces, you will be amazed to see it pick nice face shots of one from a photo you would never have imagined to pick up a portrait photo for yourself. Many times, you stand in front of a camera hoping it will be a great shot, but it could have been disappointing. But you were in a group shot and laughing and were having fun. Those faces make a great portrait collection.

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