Polar Rose Combines Facebook Connect With Facial Recognition Technology To Tag Photos On Flickr

Polar Rose, a photo tagging startup we wrote about during its private launch, has released a new version of its application that lets you name and tag people in your photos on your Flickr account using your Facebook contacts. Polar Rose will detect people in your photos, let you name the people using your Facebook contact list, and then suggest tags of other photos that include your Facebook contacts.

Polar Rose’s technology employs a browser plugin to allow users to tag people in photos anywhere on the web. The startup uses those photos to construct a 3D image of the person, and then make educated guesses as to who is in untagged photos. The new version of Polar Rose will notify that friend on Facebook who has been tagged in a Flickr photo that they’ve been named in your photos. Your friends can decide if they want their name in public or not (until they sign up and decide for themselves, Polar Rose keeps their identity them private).

Unfortunately, Polar Rose’s most recent blog post says that the application is “experiencing a delay in import of photos from Flickr.”

Polar Rose’s new technology is compelling but they may have been beat to the punch by Google’s Picasa. Picasa launched facial recognition technology last fall. The latest version of Picasa asks you identify people in your pictures that you haven’t tagged yet. Once you do and start uploading more pictures, Picasa suggests tags for people based on the similarity between their face in the picture and the tags you already put in place for them. This is similar to Polar Rose’s application which suggests photos based on your previous tags of Facebook friends. And Face.com is a Facebook app that uses facial recognition to help members locate untagged photos of themselves and their friends.

Riya tried facial recognition this but shifted its focus to ecommerce via Like.com. So did Ookles but the startup never launched. Google also threw in the towel on its image labeler. TagCow integrates with Flickr and uses humans to tag photos. But Polar Rose seems to be doing something new with the joint integration of Flickr and Facebook Connect. Making sense out of photos via facial recognition is still a technology that needs to be perfected but Polar Rose is worth a look. That is, when it actually starts working.