Riya to Launch Today

UPDATE: Riya is not launching a public beta today, but is sending out emails with credentials to people who’ve signed up for the alpha. In a few days Riya will be opening up registration for everyone. More on their blog here.

Rumors are buzzing today that the long awaited, almost acquired photo facial recognition service Riya should be moving out of private alpha and launching a public beta sometime today. The main site is currently down and “asks for your patience”, which certainly suggests that something interesting is going on over there.

Riya, which is funded by Blue Run Ventures, Leapfrog Ventures, and Bay Partners, is a service that automatically recognizes people in photos and groups them. Add a tag to the person and all of the photos are tagged with that name. As your friends and family join Riya too, many of their pictures will automatically be tagged with your data (and their other friends’ data) too.

Riya is a company that I’ve loved from the start (screen shots here), even when it was called Ojos, and have written about it often. Congratulations to the entire Riya team if, in fact, it is launching today as I’ve been unofficially told. I am really hoping that they adopt a partnering strategy and get this built into Flickr and other photo sharing services. Or at the very least build a hell of an importer so that I can move my photos to them. Yahoo, if Riya works (it certainly did in my beta testing), please buy this company.