Picasa metadata: Saving face

Last week I started using Picasa’s amazing and spooky face recognition feature to tag faces in my family photo library.

For a library of a few hundred thousand photos this can be a time-consuming process. Picasa does a great job of identifying many faces, but if it’s not certain about a particular face it needs human assistance to choose between two or more possibilities.

Browsing and identifying these unnamed faces is an oddly compelling activity. In fact the whole family has enjoyed helping Picasa sift through its backlog at odd moments during the week.

This isn’t the first time I’ve started the process, but on the previous occasion I lost all my face data when I ran Picasa while the external HDD which stores my photos was switched off. When I ran Picasa having switched the HDD back on it seemed to have lost all the face information and started scanning from scratch. At which point I decided that I could manage without tagging faces for a couple of years.

It’s possible that the latest version of Picasa no longer has this problem, but my paranoia lives on, so I wrote a little batch script launcher which will only run Picasa if the directory I:/photos is available:

@echo off
if exist "I:/photos" (
    start "" "C:Program FilesGooglePicasa3Picasa3.exe"
) else (
    echo Directory I:/photos is not available!

I compiled this batch script into an .exe using’s Bat To Exe Converter. This utility allows you to give your exe an icon, so I used another utility Icon Seizer to rip the official Picasa icon from its exe.

Finally I edited the Picasa shortcuts in my Quick launch and Start menus to point to the safe launcher.

And now I can sleep at night.

Well I would be able to if Picasa didn’t still need my help identifying 17,441 unnamed faces…