Google Photos for Genealogy
I use Google Photos to sort our family photos. With over 14,000 photos taken over 60 years, this is no simple task. Google Photos makes this fun, fascinating, and easy because of their facial recognition algorithm. It can be valuable for genealogy. See Challenges of Large Families.
The process begins with uploading a folder of images to your Google Photos account. The software automatically (in a day or two) matches faces into albums under “People and Pets”. Here you can add a name to each person in your family. There will be many other photos who are not your family members – just ignore those. What you are doing is focusing on your relatives.
You will be asked by the program occasionally if “this face” is the same person as the album. Teach the program by answering those correctly. You may also independently create albums which may not be found automatically. Use a consistent name. Once the algorithm catches on it will merge and add photos automatically.
I can go to a family reunion, take 100 photos, upload them to Google Photos, and they are automatically sorted into the correct albums by person! Sometimes it is a challenge to remember names of cousins, especially distant cousins. Using this software, I can document names with faces. I often ask my wife, who remembers names well. This creates a record which can be shared with gmail accounts. Its very helpful when updating our Family Tree Tops living family tree.
I have a permanent share set up for my children. As we take new photos or I scan old photos from the boxes in the attic, they get updates to their album. I can easily and automatically share their wonderful childhood. I had to teach the software a little when going back 25 years with the old prints, but now it knows, and ties old with current. It’s a little creepy, but it is a huge time saver!
Other people too have caught onto using Google Photos for Genealogy. See Rootstech Blog on the subject.