On Digital Cameras and Wheels

We recently bought my mother a digital photo frame for her birthday. The product itself was really nice – connect via USB, WiFi, flash cards, etc. Shows pictures, plays movies, plays music. Perfect gift for a tech-savvy mom who has a growing family.

But the real star of the show was actually Picasa. If you don’t know, recent versions of Picasa will actually scan faces in your photos and present them to you so you can provide names. It does the hard work, and you can coach it along by accepting its suggestions or providing a correction. It then indexes your images so that you can find all images with Aunt Sally, or all images with your brother *and* Aunt Sally.

With this it became trivial to preload my mom’s digital photo frame with family photos. Go through the index for reach family member and copy over some memorable shots. Easy and amazing.

I know it’s not new, and I know Google didn’t do it alone, but this seems to me to be a major milestone for the digital era. Wheels were important, and a lot of things can be done with a wheel, but history truly took a turn when someone strapped a motor to 4 of them and made a car. I feel the same way about digital cameras now. Important, but the dawn of facial recognition on the desktop makes this something else. I can only imagine what comes next. I’m sure someone out there has been spending a lot of time on exactly that. I can’t wait to see it.

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