Sunday, September 11, 2011

Got the Picture?

If you have photos on your computer, then Picasa is for you. Picasa is a FREE small powerful program download from (another Google site). It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

With this program installed with its default settings, (just click through the install screens accepting the standard replies) your computer will become your best genealogy companion. Since Picasa is built with Google technology, the tagging and search features are spectacular and the facial recognition feature will help sort out family photos.

I teach many classes on using this great program and one of the tools I use in genealogy is the facial recognition feature. As your program indexes all of your photos it finds the faces and creates a separate thumbnail of these faces. You can use these thumbnails to populate your family trees, create slide shows with the photos, help figure out who is related to whom, and in general, have some fun with your photos.

My collection of photos includes scans that date back over 100 years. When I tweaked the Picasa facial recognition feature to be LESS sensitive, the program thought my father, brother, and uncle were the same person! This can be very handy if you don’t know who someone is – the program can help.

The sensitivity setting is in the Tools menu and then select Options and then click on the Name Tags setting. As you slide the sliders to a higher number the program becomes more discerning and will help you separate siblings who the program thinks are the same person. As you slide the sliders to a lower number the program is less able to separate people giving you family groups. This facial recognition feature was able to find pictures of my nephews from age 18 months to 21 and figure out it was the same person! OK, I admit, that’s a little freaky but amazing none-the-less.

When you first install the software it will take some time for the face tagging to index the people so don’t close the program for a few hours. You can still use other programs during that time. Each time you open the program it will continue the indexing of the photos and people.

I use Picasa for so much more than photos and I’ll be sharing some of the best tips with you. Thank you for your time.

Happy Hunting.
9-11 Never Forget!

No comments:

Post a Comment