I hate the phrase Web 2.0, but it seems to be taking off. The concept, however, is very real. It’s all about taking web applications to the next level.

riya is one such example. I’ve seen someone in the office demo its work, and it really is stupendous.

Basically, it’s a place to store your photos. But when you upload them, you train the system to recognise faces. With very little training, it recognises people’s faces on new batches of photos that you upload, and you only need to tag the faces that you haven’t yet added.

My friend from work even questioned why it had tagged a photo as containing his sister-in-law, until he spotted her in the distance.

The potential implications of the system are profound. If you make your tagged photos publicly available, then people in those photos are identifiable by the general public; and if you’re photographed somewhere you shouldn’t be, then the world can easily find out. Alternatively, if there’s someone you want to know the name of, take a picture of him/her and see whether their faces can be recognised.

Not only is the software itself very impressive, quite a lot of effort has gone into making a seemless and intuitive user experience, something that is conspicuous by its absence in flickr.

All in all, a beautiful, useful and powerful piece of kit.


Leave a Reply