Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Auto-tagging in WL Photo Gallery

with 16 comments

Like many people in these days of digital photography I take a lot of photos. I use Windows Live Photo Gallery to manage my photos because of its great visualisation features, its ability to upload to Spaces and Flickr, and some of its neat tricks like creating panoramic photos. If you want to learn more about what Windows Live Photo Gallery can do then go and watch this video that features Program Managers Michael Palermiti and John Thornton.

I was watching this video yesterday and the subject of the tagging features in Windows Live Photo Gallery arose. I personally don’t use tagging because I find it to be a pain in the neck going through and tagging each and every picture. That’s when I had a brainwave – wouldn’t it be better if Windows Live Photo Gallery suggested tags to us and we just pick the ones that we want. For example, I take a lot of photos of my fiance, Helen. It would be useful if, when importing more pictures of Helen, Windows Live Photo Gallery were intelligent enough to realise that one of the faces appearing in my new batch of photos were similar to those I had already taken and thus infer that any tags from those existing photos might be applicable to some of the new ones.

That would be a cool feature to have. I suspect the software capabilities already exist (the panoramic feature in Windows Live Photo Gallery already matches similar looking photos) but the bottleneck may be hardware. If you’re going to be analysing hi-res photos against a library of thousands of existing ones then you’re going to have to be able to chuck some serious processing power against it – I just wonder how much. Perhaps it would be better if we were given the ability to pick a subset of our existing tags for Windows Live Photo Gallery to search through.

Anyway, I’ve submitted this to http://feedback.live.com and entered it onto my Feedback lista. You can do the same if you like.


P.S. Here are some examples of using the panorama feature that I talked about above. They were made all the better by the ‘Sharpen’ feature in Windows Live Writer (which is free by the way)

Looking westwards from Houston downtown

houston downtown towards galleria


Houston Galleria area



Westin Diplomat. Hollywood, Florida.



Hollywood, Florida. Looking south from the Westin Diplomat.

Hollywood Florida beach view 2007


Looking north from the Empire State Building, New York City.

Empire State 360 Panorama by day


Houston downtown from my office window

Houston downtown from my office window


Written by Jamiet

November 18, 2007 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Live Photo Gallery

16 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Nice pictures.
    I think that would be kind of creepy if WLPG knew exactly who the people in my photo were. Kind of like Big Brother, right?
    Same thing with Google and their targeting of ads, I don’t like that.
    I’d rather spend hours tagging photos, then for WLPG to know my personal data.


    November 18, 2007 at 5:56 pm

  2. Hey Sammy,
    Yeah, you might have a point. I guess they could say that they wcould actually ignore this data for ad purposes. I wonder…


    November 18, 2007 at 6:08 pm

  3. I don’t think it would be creepy of WLPG, because it wouldn’t actually know what it’s looking at in the photos; just that
    one photo seems to be similar to another, and that you previously applied a certain tag to the other, so perhaps you’d like to do the same. It’s basically a ‘spellchecker’ type of operation, but for photos. I don’t think anyone would say it’s worrying that MS Word seems to know what I’m trying to write.
    I can understand the concerns of having information stored and used for marketing purposes etc, but if this was in WLPG then it’s internal to your machine. Once you tag photos and publish them to the internet you’ve effectively lost this privacy anyway. Besides which, I’m going to get inundated with online advertising anyway, so it might as well be something I might actually be interested in.
    As for existing capability and required processing power, as someone who has recently organised (and had to merge) my entire photo collection, it’s not that demanding. Of course windows was only comparing file names and actual content of a photo will be much more demanding, but hardware is advancing aqt such a pace I don’t think we need to constrain ourselves ot ideas of things that are difficult now, because tomorrow they won’t be a problem.
    P.S. That one of New York is fantastic!


    November 18, 2007 at 7:32 pm

  4. @the Pipe: Wow. that was some pretty neat analysis. I’m guessing you’re probably right.
    I’d only tag my photos, just for the purpose of finding them quickly.


    November 20, 2007 at 7:24 am

  5. I have had several cameras that do panorama shots in the camera….2 of the cameras just used 3 different pictures stitched together, but my newest little Canon G9 camera will stitch up to 26 images!!!
    Seriously!  I have not done it yet, as I have only had the camera a few weeks, but that is what the book says!  This little carry along camera is amazing…I seldom use my SLR Olympus…it is 12.1 megapixels and the video is very impressive too….also has RAW built in….love it….I have several programs in my computer for doing similar stuff, but why bother when the camera will do most of the work!


    September 1, 2008 at 3:42 am

  6. Cool post, Jamie. I’m in the same boat, it would just take too much time to tag all of my photos. Maybe this will be on the horizon someday soon. BTW, nice to meet one of the 7 people in the known universe who knows about Listas.


    January 15, 2009 at 5:50 pm

  7. Hi Jamie, I am doing a windshield survey for public health class of Houston. I ran across your photo and would like to use it in my presentation on the title page with proper APA citation of course, may I have your permission? I love that it is obviously taken "through glass" which is the point of a windshield survey! The uneven borders in black are just a bonus but make the composition visually interesting to my point of view as the powerpoint is done in a black and white scheme. I will send a copy so that you see the credit for your work if you want. I know you are doing serious photography and photostictching but there is something compelling about that photo to me!


    October 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm

  8. KJ,Sure, you can use the photo. I’d be happy for you to do so – thank you for asking.I would appreciate your sending me a copy of the presentation – I’m interested to see how it might be getting used.RegardsJamie


    October 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

  9. Thank you Jamie, I sent you a link with the powerpoint before all my classmates added their slides. I hope it gets to you, I have never used windows live or uploaded anything before. Oh, and I am using the panoramic view, Galleria area, I don’t think I mentioned that before. It appears much sharper and more defined in the powerpoint window too!


    October 7, 2009 at 2:36 am

  10. Brilliant panoramic photos Jamie! Were these taken with your new camera by any chance? And Yes I too make lots of use of the ‘sharpen’ feature inbuilt into writer. Just wondering though why you didn’t do cropping with some of them? (which again you can also perform in writer as well) Tell you, Writer just gets better and better as it evolves.


    October 7, 2009 at 5:54 am

  11. The Face Recognition you mention is something Windows Live Team wound us all up about in an April Fool’s post earlier this year. It would be great to have all the hard work done for us, wouldn’t it.Lovely photos, Jamie.


    October 7, 2009 at 6:29 am

  12. k j,I got it – no worries. Great to see someone putting the new Office Web Apps to good use! I left a comment for you on the web page. Welcome to Windows Live by the way – you’ve just used one of the best features, uploading a powerpoint to Skydrive and being able to view it using Office Web Apps.TG, no, they weren’t taken with my new camera. Take a look at the date of this blog post and that will become evident :)Jen, thanks for the kind words as always!-Jamie


    October 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm

  13. This face recognition technique is already being used by Mac. I know my friend has a mac, and only needed to tell who the person was like 2 to 3 times, and then that program automaticly tags that face on any picture that is in that gallery/index. Looked really cool, and it was just on a notebook, so I guess it doesn’t use that much power to let the program recognise all those HQ pictures.


    October 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

  14. Is this a new post or a really old one? Picassa now has facial recognition and does a great job of it. Here’s to hoping that WLPG adds it in the next version.


    October 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm

  15. I just looked, Jeffrey. Two years old, Mate! Just when I thought it was a recent one as well. Boo-hoo!


    October 7, 2009 at 11:16 pm

  16. […] Auto-tagging in WL Photo Gallery В« Jamie Thomson Nov 18, 2007 … Auto-tagging in WL Photo Gallery … I'd rather spend hours tagging photos, then for WLPG to know my … […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: