Intelligent Machines

Detecting Faces in Apple iPhoto '09

The latest photo-management programs from Apple and Google include revolutionary face-spotting technology.

Feb 27, 2009
Apple’s iPhoto automatically identifies faces within a collection of images. Most face-detection software does this by searching for a person’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
Sometimes, however, the software mistakes another element of an image for someone’s face.
Once a person has been identified, iPhoto will try to find other images containing his or her likeness.
A user can train the software to better recognize a face by confirming and rejecting suggested matches.
iPhoto can correctly tell our twins apart.
iPhoto will automatically recognize a cat’s face.
The software had little trouble finding images of our cat Asher–even as a kitten.
Google’s Picasa creates a central database of faces matched to names, e-mail addresses, and more.