Microsoft OneAlbum: Find your photos in friends' albums

Microsoft is working on new face-recognition technology via a its OneAlbum project, which allow users to find their photos across various social networks. OneAlbum is another of the Microsoft Research projects that Microsoft is showing off to its employees during this week's TechFest 2010 research fair in Redmond

Microsoft is working on new face-recognition technology via a its OneAlbum project, which allow users to find their photos across various social networks.

OneAlbum is another of the Microsoft Research projects that Microsoft is showing off to its employees during this week's TechFest 2010 research fair in Redmond. OneAlbum is a project under development by Microsoft Israel Innovation Labs. (Thanks to LiveSino.net's PicturePan2 for the OneAlbum tip.)

From the project description:

"Today, my album refers to a collection of photos I have taken. But many photos relevant to me—such as photos of me or my children—are in my friends' albums. OneAlbum automatically finds relevant photos in my friends' albums on social networks or in shared albums, brings them to my album, and shows them side-by-side with the photos I've taken."

The "novel, unsupervised face-recognition algorithm" behind OneAlbum "analyzes the photos in my album to find automatically the faces of people I most care about, based on frequency of their appearance," with no tagging required, according to the Research site. OneAlbum crawls the photo albums of the user's friends to find relevant photos. The algorithm has been tested on "real large-scale albums," the site says, including those with "tens of thousands of photos" and has achieved accuracy rates up to 90 percent.

The algorithm works by analyzing photos in a user's album, thus "learning" a user's interests. It then assumes people in a user's album are the most relevant to that user. The face detection technology that's part of the project is being developed in collaboration with Microsoft Research and Microsoft Live Labs, according to a PDF about OneAlbum. (Click on the image below from the PDF to enlarge.)

Microsoft officials are emphasizing Microsoft's interest in natural-user-interface technologies at TechFest this year, and are pointing to Project Natal, Microsoft's forthcoming gesture-based gaming controller, as an example of how Microsoft research can be commercialized.

Other Microsoft Research projects that are on display at this week's TechFest 2010 event:

Mobile Surface (portable version of Microsoft's multitouch table technology)

Project Gustav (digital painting)

Cloud Mouse and Faster Cloud (Microsoft cloud-computing input devices and networking improvements)

Search on the Go (SONGO) (mobile search/advertising cache)

Translating Phone (a phone that translates between languages in real time)

Skinput (using the human body as an input surface)

Muscle Computer Interfaces (controlling computers/devices with muscle sensors)