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Facial Recognition Software Showdown

The Tagging Challenge

It’s funny how our assumptions can get in the way of a good product. When I agreed to take on an overview of today’s facial recognition and tagging applications, I assumed it would be a lot like the facial recognition biometric systems I’d used in years past. You pose, click, pose, click, the software analyzes the pieces of your face into this and that mathematical relationship, and the next time you show up it simply knows who you are. Easy!

So, I assumed that facial recognition and tagging software—let’s just call it face tagging to keep things simple—would be equally easy. I’d have a handful of photos to show the software, tell the system that this and this and this are my kid, and voila! The app would do its little song and dance through my album and report back with all photos of my kid with his face already tagged in each photo. Since like most people I have about 42 million family photos, this could save a lot of time.

Yet that’s not quite how things worked. Having now spent far more hours doing face tagging than I ever imagined possible, I can say that this new application type can be immensely useful, but it’s no cake walk. You’re still going to log in a lot of time during the tagging process. The question is how much time. That’s what we’re here to find out.

Each of the five software titles discussed here is relatively new--each was launched in the last four months, and a few in the last two weeks--so the time is right for a fierce head-to-head competition between the most well-known photo tagging software brands out there.