Thursday, May 18, 2006


I can't decide if I love this or I'm terrified of it.

It's called Riya, and it's in beta. Riya is an advanced facial recognition tool. You upload your digital photos and teach Riya who the people in them are. Riya learns their faces, and then you can have it scan the rest of your pictures and tag the photos that contain people it recognizes.

Riya remembers the faces and names for your future convenience, and so you can then search for public photos of those people. Here's where I start to itch a little. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this huge, instantly searchable database of faces and names, and I certainly wouldn't want to teach it how to recognize everyone I love without ironclad guarantees about who owns that data.

In the meantime, it is fascinating technology. And incredibly useful for people whose photo collections are out of control. (Also for a guy who took a picture of a girl at a party with his camera phone and can't remember her name.)

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