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Polar Rose inches towards useful face recognition

Polar Rose inches towards useful face recognition with the release of a beta that lets users tag photos online.

I finally got access to Polar Rose (news story), an image search site I've been looking forward to trying. This early version of the product isn't terribly compelling, though. Today, Polar Rose can pick out faces in photos. It doesn't tell you who's who, though. The idea is that Web users who have the Polar Rose browser plugin do that.

Polar Rose plugin users can ID people in pictures by clicking on the rose icon. The icon automatically pops up below the head of of every person in a picture.

On the other side of the product is a search engine for pictures of people. If you want to find a picture of someone, and that person has been tagged by users, Polar Rose will show you all the pictures that match.

Future versions of the product will actually do facial recognition, I'm told, although the company isn't disclosing when that function will go into beta. This is the holy grail of visual search, of course. Last year, Riya demoed a tool that was supposed to do what Polar Rose is still building, but Riya eventually gave up and moved into image search for commerce (it finds shoes that look alike, for example).

I hope to see Polar Rose's technology, once it is fully developed, if it's fully developed, inside a people search engine like Spock or Wink. That's where it's needed.

See also: Google image search recognizes faces and Recaptcha: The smartest way to deal with something annoying.

You can search for people that other users have tagged. CNET Networks