Find My Face

Google has always had technology that’s been both cool and creepy at the same time. In fact, I believe their upcoming “Google Now” was criticized for this reason, precisely, and CNET has a great article showing how Google products go from creepy to cool.

Anyway, Google now has a “Find My Face” feature which scours the social networking world for recognizable faces and then emails you to let you know it found your face. Take a look at this email I just received:

Here’s how Find my Face works:

After you turn on Find my Face, Google+ uses the photos you’re tagged in to create a model of your face. The model updates as tags of you are added or removed, and you can delete the entire face model at any time by turning off Find my Face.

If you turn on Find my Face, we can use your face model to make it easier to find photos of you. For example, we’ll show a suggestion to tag you when you or someone you know looks at a photo that matches your face model. Name tag suggestions by themselves do not change the sharing setting of photos or albums. However, when someone approves the suggestion to add a name tag, the photo and relevant album are shared with the person tagged.

As Zeh informed me, it’s fairly similar to what face.com used to do (before Facebook bought the Israeli facial recognition firm in June 2012) and Picasa and Facebook offer similar services. However, the idea that Googlebot is spidering the web with a model of my face, reporting back to me similarities is both creepy and cool. Creepy, because it brings to mind Sci-Fi movie gadgets where the government can spot your grainy likeness on any CCTV feed across the world. Cool, because it’ll help me to ensure no weirdo is montaging some shrine of my physiognomy somewhere in cyberspace, or some perverted derelict isn’t “catfishing” me by using my photos for a fictional online persona.

 

Geotag (with Picasa2 & Google Earth)

When I was a kid, I had a dream that when you die, you’re taken to a room in heaven where a red line traces your existance on the world, darting in and out of streets, houses, colleges, towns, states, countries, etc. This way, even if your work didn’t leave an indelible line on society, your steps surely would. In the dream, I saw the lines intersect with my family and then split off again. The lines tangoed with lovers (and glowed more vividly when they crossed), meandered with friends, sped down highways on roadtrips and caromed off near misses with soul mates, only to intertwine again. The pulsing line, so full of activity, only ended when you were laid to rest for good. It’s a stupid dream, but, hey, I was a kid.

I’ve always been charmed by the idea of connecting myself with the world. It’s one of the main reasons I designed the parent site of Donline, Citarella.net. This is where my family can connect with other branches in the tree. It’s also why I created the flickr map gallery of my family members, the Heat Map, and why Mike and I worked on creating myhoboken.info (which enables businesses in the Hoboken area to plot themselves on maps with logos). I thought that was pretty innovative, since no one else seemed to do it at the time, but I’ve just learned of the GeoTag feature of Picasa2 and Google Earth.

If you’ve never seen this, it’s definitely something exciting to look at. GeoTags enable you to create an external Google Earth file that links to your images in Picasa to plot exactly where they were taken in the world. It goes one step beyond that to have the file load when you’re browsing through Google Earth to see a smattering of your photos on the planet.

It’s actually quite simple to do.

1. Locate an image in Picasa2.

2. Click “Tools” –> “Geotag” –> “Geotag in Google Earth”

3. Search for your location in Google Earth.
(ie. “Dublin, Ireland”)

4. Crosshairs will appear on the aerial map of the earth. Drag the crosshairs to exact the location where the picture was taken.

5. Click “Geotag” from the Picasa2 pop-up to confirm your location.

Now, you’re done. See how easy that was? If you want to view your Geotags, browse to the image in Picasa2 and click “Tools” –> “GeoTag” –> “View in Google Earth”

It’ll open up Google Earth again and pinpoint the picture on the globe. Here’s me drinking a Black-n-Black (Guinness and Espresso) in Temple Bar Pub, in Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland.

Give it a try for yourself!