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Photo managers with face recognition?

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I just thought I'd mention in this thread that I have been using Picasa pretty heavily and relying on it as my main IMT (Image Management Tool) ever since it was released. Formerly, my favourite IMT was ACD-See, but I have stopped using that now.
One of the things that Picasa introduced was face recognition. It seemed to be a bit quirky at first, but by now Picasa has been steadily improved to the stage where any of its shortcomings seem to have been pretty much been addressed.

The OP (Original Post) by @JavaJones listed several deficiencies of Picasa. I have listed them below, and added comments as to current status.
Face recognition:

* Unpredictable and hard to fully control the scan process. Any faces that are detected are easy to deal with, the problem is that scanning doesn't always detect all faces and it seems there's no way to force a rescan without losing all your existing tagged faces in that folder. [Currently: Picasa periodically rescans folders for unscanned/new images, and you can force Picasa to rescan images in one or more folders, and a nested set of folders]
* There's also no way to resume a scan that may have stopped for some reason. So while I have a great catalog of about 100 tagged faces/people and 1000's of photos of them labeled, I know there are many more that aren't tagged yet and I don't want to manually tag them. [Currently: As above, face rescans are not an issue. As for tagging in general, photos can be selected to the working tray and tagged en masse as a group. Picasa enquires whether you really want to tag that large a number of images, and then tags them if you tell it to go ahead. Tagged groups can be treated as an album, so that you can show them all together, even if the members of that group also belong to other tagged groups or albums.]
* There's also no way that I can see to organize people into groups, which would be nice. Currently: You can select all the photos pf a person, tag them en masse (as above) to a tag - e.g., "Friends". I have not seen a way to cause subsequent scan/recognition of a new photo to associate the face in that photo with the same tag group(s) as an already recognised photo of the same face.[i/]
* Perhaps worst of all Picasa doesn't use standard meta data tags for face data, so the info is not portable to other apps. [What international data exchange standards for this metadata should Picasa be using?]
* More generally speaking I also find Picasa's editing functionality rather limited, especially compared to higher-end (non-free) apps like Lightroom. [This may still be the case. Perhaps if Picasa emulated Photoshop, it could be even better, but it may never happen as Picasa was probably created for a specific market as a general-purpose tool to build and maintain family albums and post them to Picasa albums on the Internet for sharing.]

Thanks for the reply Iain. I agree that Picasa has progressed since my original post, but honestly not as much as I would hope in the face recognition dept. Worse yet, other packages haven't really stepped up to the plate either, so the options are not much different now than they were, unfortunately. In response to your specific points:

While Picasa does rescans on its own (you can set whether you want it to do so on a per-folder basis), it still seems to miss a lot of faces for some reason. This happens even if you force a rescan. It is mysterious. This answers point 2 as well. Maybe my experience is different than yours. My environment is probably atypical for a Picasa user: I work mostly with RAW files and I have over 50,000. So admittedly it's a tall task to ask Picasa to deal with all that with face recognition. But that's what I must ask, or ask for a similar app at a professional level that *can* handle that. There should be *some* solution for this.

To point 3, the idea of tagging multi-selected people to create "groups" is interesting, but it's really a relatively limited workaround that doesn't actually accomplish the goal of persistent grouping. As you said, you can't have it auto-tag new photos with a recognized face, so it's not persistent and requires continuous, laborious maintenance. Not only that but one possible benefit of having categories would be to e.g. collapse categories to reduce visual clutter and allow me to concentrate on the groups of people I am more interested in maintaining records of. A solution using the existing tagging system doesn't allow that.

Regarding meta data, there are a couple standards for it and have been for some time. Picasa supports several of them, but each to varying degrees, and long-standing bugs have caused corruption and unreadable data for other apps (e.g. Lightroom). A quick search will turn up lots of threads spanning the last several years describing these issues. The real problem I guess is Picasa doesn't necessarily play nice with other apps. I wouldn't really care to use Picasa at all and would just focus on other apps *if* other apps offered good face recognition.

As to Picasa's limited editing capability, I probably shouldn't have even made the Lightroom comparison. A better one might be Photoshop Elements, or even Being more specific, there are really just a *few* tools that should be added and/or tweaked to make Picasa much more capable, in my opinion. But the flip side of my point - and the real desire for me - was for a higher-end app like Lightroom to support some of the cool capabilities of Picasa, particularly good face recognition. That's the real disappointment for me. As I said above I basically only use Picasa for the face recognition stuff. All my editing is done in other apps, mostly Lightroom and Photoshop. I would be *happy* if I didn't have to jump over to Picasa for face stuff. So really it's the other software publishers lagging that I'm most frustrated with. Lack of competition not driving progress and all that. Hopefully Lightroom 4 will come out soon with native face recognition and HDR tone mapping. :D

- Oshyan

I just saw this online face recognition:
-from the makers of PhotoScape.

@JavaJones: Just had a thought - which is the tool that you currently regard as your image file/database manager? Is that Lightroom?

Yes, basically Lightroom now. I'm *reasonably* happy with it, but still not thrilled. I may go into another period of testing alternatives soon too...

- Oshyan


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