Apple’s Phil Schiller announced at the Steveless keynote at Macworld today (CrunchGear is liveblogging it) that a new version of iPhoto will include facial recognition software. The feature, called Faces, lets you put a name to face, then it tries to find other images with the same face and lets you confirm whether the software got it right. I really hopes this works, because I simply don’t have time to tag the 7,000 images in my iPhoto, 5,000 of which are probably one of my sons. iPhoto will also automatically generate albums that contain photos of the faces you select. Facial recognition is a hard problem to solve. I’ll believe it when I see it.
iPhoto is also adding a feature called Places, which lets you geotag photos or uses the GPS coordinates if they are available. There is a map view now that shows where you’ve taken all of your photos with pins on a map (powered by Google Maps). It is also finally supporting Flickr and Facebook uploading (hopefully, with automatic resizing). Yes, Apple, we want our photos on the Web, where more people can see them. But what’s nice is that the geotags sync with Flickr, and if someone adds a tag on Facebook to one of your photos it syncs back.
I like this direction because Apple is turning iPhoto into a true Webtop app. It should take a look at Fotonauts, which was founded by former Apple technologist Jean-Marie Huillot and is pushing the envelope in this area . Fotonauts lets you turn each album into a Webpage without an expensive Me.com account, and makes it easy to build a social community around each album.