Last year, Picasa Web Albums released a feature called name tags that used facial recognition to group the people in your photos together. I was excited this week because the technology has finally reached the desktop client! I loaded the new Picasa and it began crunching through the 20,000+ faces in my photos.

It’s a cool technology, but the current execution is a little less than desired. I have a bunch of weird objects which it thinks are faces (like a rice cooker), many “faces” of statues and paintings, and a lot of dark/cloudy/misaligned/sideways-facing faces. I would rather they just not consider these as faces.

When it works, it works really well. It was able to cluster several thousand faces in my photos, and now I have all sorts of facial data that I want to do neat things with. Too bad the Picasa isn’t easily accessible so I’m relegated to making collages. Here’s a slice of my many faces: