As always happens, I’ve been distracted from other chores and have started playing around with the tools that are looking most promising for finally, finally(!), organising my collection of 65,000 photos.
Picasa is the undisputed king of facial recognition, aside from Google Photos (which I’m not touching), so I want to leverage that for tagging photos automatically where possible. However, I don’t want to be locked into Picasa, but have that information recognisable in other tools – which means either EXIF data or XMP sidecar files.
So – for starters, I’ve set Picasa on a mission, churning through the tens of thousands of photos on my microserver, and it’s flagging up faces that it has clustered as similar.
What I’ve also already done in Picasa, is change two flags, that let it write the name tags back to the photos, rather than as the .ini file stored in each directory.
One in Menu à Options
And one in Tools à Experimental
So, we should be getting the tag in two places – both XMP and in the photo EXIF itself.
So now – if I tag someone in Picasa from my Hot Air Ballooning Trip:
Then my desktop version of Mylio picks up the change… well, instantly!
And here’s the XMP file entry
Now – removing that is a little harder – I just tried removing the tags in Mylio, and it said it couldn’t write the XMP file, probably because Picasa still has it open, but it’s rare you would remove tags entirely, and I imagine you can overwrite them easily enough.
So – in summary, with this, I should be able to run a “Face recognition superpalooza” on all my photos in Picasa, and have those changes then recognised and replicated back to all my other devices in Mylio.
What would be interesting, is if I can point Picasa at my low-res local copies of photos synced by Mylio to my laptop, rather than at the originals on my NAS back at home. Mylio simply replicates the folder structure of local thumbnail or ‘preview’ copies like this, and also simply copies or merges XMP files that are created on a ‘non-original’ copy back to the original’s directory, so I see no reason why I can’t create these XMP files with Picasa, and then have Mylio send those files back to the original copies in their various locations.
I’ve been flip-flopping while I try to decide which is going to be my solution to replace Picturelife, and found in the process that Picturelife was no longer dead!
Well, not very dead.
So, a paragraph or two on each.
Still the gold standard, if it was well funded. It should combine the speed and convenience of cloud storage; the social aspects of sharing albums and feeds with friends and family; the ability to send a link without the need for friends to sign up; a browsing experience that includes excellent map and timeline views; the control and stability of being able to use your own S3 buckets; the longevity of allowing you to retain the metadata you add, if you do move off the platform; and an app which is still great despite no development for more than a year.
However, all that is broken. The service has had a few outages (as in scary ones, like “have they shut down and taken all my photos?”), and right now only basic upload and browsing works – the search, albums, and sharing are all broken, for my account at least.
The new gold standard, if you eat up a big spoonful of reality and realise Picturelife is struggling to survive. Mylio is more of an organisational tool than a sharing/consumption platform. What that means, is that the photos don’t live in the cloud, but live on the original source, with thumbnails and metadata being synced seamlessly in real-time to every device, such as your iPhone.
This means it lacks many important aspects of Picturelife that make it less consumable by non-geeks – such as there’s no sharing, no feeds, no map view. However, it does still allow backup/sync of your camera roll, and it does allow you to access all your photos, anytime, anywhere – plus because the thumbnails are cached locally, it’s lightning fast, which is a huge boost in usability, in allowing you to find and look at any photo from your entire collection in a few seconds. Plus any ratings, comments or tags that you add remain in your control, since the photos are on your storage, not a cloud service.
I briefly stepped into this world, since Lightroom mobile does offer live sync with a cloud service. However, as a family photo organiser, it’s far more complicated than Picturelife or even Mylio – easy browsing of photos is far less accessible, and you could fumble for minutes trying to find, view, or download a photo. Of course, if you pay for the cloud service, you get the entire photography suite in your collection, but my focus is just on trying to organise and find my photos, not try to photoshop dinosaurs or add sparkles to each one of them. Again, very good for portability, since the metadata added is stored in .XMP sidecar files and generally the accepted standard, so they’ll remain accessible with the photos for ever.
The gold standard of desktop organisation. It’s excellent for tagging and organising, and again, writes data in a reasonably accessible format, adding all comments and edits to a hidden text file in the photo directory. The face recognition is also the best out there, and that’s important, because usually you’ll be searching for a photo of a person. It doesn’t solve accessibility or collaborative sharing with family, however, unless you sync with Google+, which of course we don’t want to do for privacy concerns. And it, too, is end of life, so it will no longer be supported or maintained, although since it’s software rather than a cloud app, that decline is far less noticeable – I suspect Picasa will be very popular and usable even five years from now.
So – right now, I’m reluctantly sitting back from Picturelife for a while, and using Mylio to address the immediate concern of backing up our iPhone photos, and being able to view old ones. It’s $10 a month for 500,000 photos, and that’s fine, for now.
I was wishfully thinking that they’d finally get a new business model up and running, but the new model appears to be bankruptcy.
The web page is a white page. The page source is almost as empty:
And the app is no better: