Putting a name to a face: Polar Rose

This week I learned Adobe are beginning to take hoaxing seriously.


They’re planning to make a suite of photo-authentication tools available (possibly via plug-ins) for their Photoshop software, which will help users detect doctored photography, and avoid the pitfalls (and pratfalls) of hoaxers exploiting media demand for UGC.


But while that’s all well and good for those who can afford Photoshop, is there anything out there which offers face recognition technology free to use?


Step forward Polar Rose (still in Beta).


Its basically a web-based search engine which lets you search for, tag, and then use the systems’ face recognition technology to find further stills of the subject you’re looking for.


So how does it work?  There’s a layman’s explanation on their blog which is pretty illuminating, and if it all adds up, it (and any other sources like it) will have some pretty useful applications in the media, whether of the professional or citizen varieties


Any broadcast or online journalists reading this will be aware of how difficult it can be to track down a fitting still of the subject matter you’re working on, especially given the erroneous tagging and metadata that exists (primarily in free sources, but also on occasion in proprietary ones).


In addition, the rights associated with pictures of certain individuals (celebrities, or public figures) can make them difficult to clear, and/or expensive to use in production – so again, anything which can help unearth more options has got to be a good thing.


And that’s not to mention the benefit to media companies more generally, who want to ensure the metadata and rights associated with images and footage of celebrities and public figures in their archives are both correct, and consistently adhered to by their users.


Being able to scan through your entire CMS for photos of a particular celebrity, and batch-tag all of them with rights issues would be a really efficient way to avoid all sorts of legal problems.


A word of caution about the system as is, however – it’s not particularly well populated with public figures for now – but as it gains popularity, this will change.


For further detail on how this technology could develop (and which sources it could incorporate going forward) take a look here.


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