kw: observations, experiences, software
Those of us who use Picasa from Google to manage our photos got a recent upgrade, which some folks have been none to pleased about. About ten days ago I also had an anomaly with it, but I found a way around it.
If Picasa is already managing thousands of photos, and you upgrade to version 3.5 or 3.6, which has the new face recognition feature, it does not complete its face indexing task. In my case, it trundled along for about twelve hours, got to the point where it was 54% done, by its own estimation, stating that it had indexed more than 9700 faces and had 8800 or so to go, and it stalled. All the counters stopped moving, hard disk activity slowed and stopped. I had been putting names to faces for a few hours as it worked, and I kept doing so. But it didn't work through any of the remaining faces.
I let it sit there for the next twelve hours in that condition (I just let it run all night). No change. At that point, I closed the program, shut down the computer, and went to work. When I started Picasa up that evening, it was waiting for me to continue to identify faces. I spent several hours finishing the ones it had found, and that was that. I could tell it had missed quite a few.
A few days later, the big snowstorm came (Feb 6), and I was snowed in for two days. I took the chance to copy my whole photo archive to a newer computer. There were just a few photos on this one, and Picasa 3.6 had already scanned for faces, and I'd identified them. I got the DVD's out with my photo collection, and loaded a year at a time. I would load a year, then Picasa would gather the photos, scanning for faces. The first year, it left 55 faces untouched, even after I had put names to all the others. I just loaded the next year, to see what would happen. This time, it cross-checked them all, and thereafter, it always completed its face checking. I did the name tagging year-by-year.
So when I was done, I had every face either name-tagged or Ignored. The process took all of one day and a little of the next. This is the work-around then: move your photos to data DVD's first, then upgrade Picasa. Put them back a thousand pix or so at a time. Organizing by years makes that a simple process. You'll need a couple hours to tag each year's photos (if you are as active a photographer as I am).
I must say, other than this limitation, I like how this feature works. Picasa's face-matching routines let it present you with a face that often represents a group of similar views of the same person. By tagging the one you see, you tag the whole group. The more faces you tag, the more accurate its picks become. Of course, you still need to go through each Face Album later to find mis-tagged faces and re-tag them. This is a one-thumb-up upgrade.