Riya: First impressions

I’ve played with the alpha of Riya for a couple of hours now and here’s a few snippets of my experience.

First, the idea behind Riya is that it “tags” your photos with the names of the people in them. It does this automatically via facial recognition. It also uses text recognition to tag your photos with text on things that you took a photograph of (street signs, advertisements, etc). This whole idea rocks, so I’ve really been looking forward to the start of alpha testing.

It’s obvious that this is an alpha. But that’s ok. Here’s some critiques ripped straight out of my notes:

1. An estimated time left on the uploader applet would be sweet.
2. On the start page it tells you to click on “Unrecognized Faces” when in fact the link it’s referring to is entitled “Faces Unrecognized”.
3. Need a way to tell Riya that something it recognizes as a face, isn’t … or at least clarify the way this is done. Riya determined that some buildings and other objects were the faces of people. Humorously it also recognized a doll face in one of my photos.
4. Riya doesn’t like my face (very offensive!). I’m in many of the photos I uploaded but I had to go through dozens upon dozens of photos to get a good selection of samples whereas it popped up dozens upon dozens of photos of my cousin in the first few pages when training her face.
5. “Number of Training Examples for xxxx: xx” doesn’t seem to increment correctly when going through the training for an individual person (rather than through the bulk trainer). Several screens in a row the number will stay the same even if you select thumbnails as being representative of the individual, and then all of the sudden it will increment up to the correct number.
5. Way to correct name misspellings. My brain broke and I labeled a bunch of pics of my wife with her maiden name (we’ve been married for eight years, so I have no idea why I did this) so I went to Address Book to fix her name. Can’t do it, but can add a nickname, which didnt do anything. After doing this, I cannot display any photos for my wife. It shows that there are 27 photos with her in it, but when I click on her name or thumbnail it loads a lot of data into the web page and shows a lot of blank thumnail tiles, but after it’s done all those tiles disappear and it says cannot find any photos.
6. After clicking a thumbnail it loads a page full off medium sized versions of the photos in that album or that match that tag. This page makes firefox crawl and the CPU to peg at 100%.

Also a couple of general observations I noted down whilst playing around:

To upload photos to Riya you must download a java applet with which you select the photos you want to upload. I haven’t looked into it much, but this applet must do some pre-processing on the photos…maybe resizing them. It pegs my Athlon 64 3500+ at 100% usage for the whole time it’s uploading.

Which brings me to the next observation. In her invite email Tara Hunt stated that the uploader didn’t support Firefox yet. I had no problem using Firefox to upload my pics. I don’t see how you would have problem with any browser, since the uploader is a java applet you download and then run as a seperate client.

I also wondered if correcting mistakes in text recognition helped improve future accuracy?

riya, photosearch, soalphaithurts, riyarocks

  1. Thanks Dustin,

    I’ll make certain your feedback gets back to the team.

    The uploader does work in Firefox, but not on a Mac. I was hopped up on flu medication when I wrote that, so you aren’t the only one who interpreted that way. Oops!

    And…the uploader does resize your photos…we should definitely make that more explicit. šŸ˜‰


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