Flickr has a great reputation among tech and photography enthusiasts for a number of reasons. It was one of the first services around back in 2004 to implement tag clouds, which provide access to images tagged with the most popular keywords; it also introduced flexible methods of organizing files via sets and collections and, in general, has been pushing out some unique features throughout the years. Compared to some rival photo organizers, however, it still lacks the face recognition feature that seems to be all the rage these days.
They do offer a fairly comprehensive API that allows programmers to create their own applications based on data from the site – which is exactly what a Swedish start-up by the name of Polar Rose is doing to let Flickr join the face id ranks. It’s not available as a built-in Flickr feature, but as a separate site that lets you import photos from your Flickr account, and then automatically organizes them onto groups dedicated to various individuals. The site prompts you to name or skip the faces it finds in your photos and sends the labels back to the Flickr account. Additionally, a friends list can also be imported from Facebook and be used when identifying faces in photos from Flickr.
Facial recognition technology is still far from perfect, but interest in it has grown considerably the past few months ever since Picasa and iPhoto started offering such functionality. Polar Rose plans to license its technology to numerous sites and says it has already signed with a handful of small photo sharing sites and with the open-source software Gallery.