While Flickr is dead to me, I think Picasa is the ugly cousin in the photo sharing family. It doesn’t seem to get the use it should given that it is a Google app, and is pretty well integrated with Picasa (which is unfortunately the best desktop photo management program I can find). I’ve been giving Picasa some love recently as I am posting some wedding and honeymoon highlights on it for sharing.

One of the new features for Picasa (Web Albums) is Name Tags (enable it under Settings), which is like face tagging on Facebook. The innovation here is that instead of having to click each face, Google scans all your photos, detects faces, and clusters them together so you can tag all instances of the person’s face at once. For example, I can tag all of me at once:

Presumably, Picasa will be able to infer, once I’ve tagged my face as Kevin, that future faces that look like me is probably me, and will suggest that I tag them with “Kevin”. Does that make sense? Anyways, it’s much quicker than Facebook. Pretty cool right? It’s actually much cooler than it looks because it can handle rotations, slight changes in depth, and partial faces. Here’s some other samples (each row is a separate cluster):

I can’t wait until this makes it into Picasa the desktop client. Although my desktop I/O crunches trying to load 4MB pictures to full screen, I don’t want to imagine what will happen when it has to search and analyze all the faces in my pictures.