I’m back at the computer again and furiously making my way through the backlog of email which built up in my absence. If you sent me an email in the last week or two and I haven’t responded, please re-send it just to poke me!
The break was great and Santa was very generous – he gave me the fabulous digital SLR camera iIhave been lusting after for so long (I must have been a really good boy!). I’ll have to start playing with my dormant Flickr account now. Or maybe if Riya get their Mac support together (they say they are working on an iPhoto uploader now), I might try them out.
In the meantime, I must keep an eye on the MacWorld Expo which kicks off today – I’m looking forward to seeing what Steve Jobs (the consummate CEO showman) has in store. As usual, the rumour mill is buzzing with what is expected to be announced (new Intel based laptops, new version of iLife, new iPod Shuffle, etc.) – no doubt Stevie will pull a few surprises though as he has done every ime before.
I have written about Riya here several times recently and it seems that it will be a very cool application.
I am one of the lucky ones selected to be an alpha tested of Riya but unfortunately that doesn’t do much for me because I am Mac based and the uploader for Riya is Windows only (for now, I am assured by Tara Hunt – Riya’s top evangelist). Fine, I can handle the delay – it is annoying but you come to expect it.
However, what really stuck in my throat was when I received an email from Riya this morning saying:
If you have the digital photoset and time for this testing, we will thank you by either a digital camera or if you prefer, a cash payment as follows:
1000-2000 pictures: $120
2000-3000 pictures: $150
3000+ pictures: $200
That’s great – except for the fact that as a Mac user I can’t participate in this offer – this offer is being made exclusively to Windows testers – Mac testers are being excluded by virtue of the fact that there is no Mac uploader and so no way for them to upload our 1000+ pics.
Shame on you Riya.
I received an Alpha invite to try out Riya the other day. I have posted about Riya previously and it does sound like it will be an exciting application – it is an online photo application (like Flickr) but it has facial recognition software built-in. This means that once you upload a photo and tell Riya who is in the photo, it will recognise them in any other photos you upload. This will help enormously when you want to search for pictures subsequently as currently there is no real way to search for images unless they have meta-information attached.
But when I went to Riya, I was unable to upload any pictures as the uploader is Windows XP only – this meant I was unable to test any of the applications features 🙁
However bad it is not having a Mac uploader, how difficult would it have been having a couple of test images in Alpha testers accounts so that if they couldn’t upload images they could, at least play with the test ones?
Riya is a company I have mentioned previously – they have an incredible application which combines text and facial recognition with photo uploading, so that once you tell Riya who is who in your photo albums, it will recognise those people from then on out in any photos it sees! Riya also has tagging built in to the application – like any half-decent web 2.0 application. Riya is due to launch tomorrow.
Now comes the rumour/news that Riya is being bought by Google – before it has even launched! I have to stress the news that this is still just a rumour – and the way rumours grow legs on the blogosphere (remember the Technorati buyout rumours?), it may well be completely untrue.
However, given Yahoo!’s purchase of Flickr, Google needs a cool photo app like this to maintain a presence in this space – then again, so does Microsoft! Anyone want to start a Microsoft is buying Riya rumour? Funny, Robert Scoble didn’t mention it in the interview of him which I podcast yesterday… then again, he wouldn’t, would he? 😉
I see Michael Arrington and Dave Winer and others have picked up on this story as well.
Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch, has the first review of Riya on his site.
What is Riya? Riya, formerly known as Ojos, is facial recognition software – basically, if you upload you photos to Riya, it will ask you the names of people in the photos, and quickly start to recognise them in more of your pictures so you get a searchable index of all your photos of people.
Riya also allows for tagging of pictures and parts of pictures, so you could tag your dog’s picture with his/her name, it recognises text in pictures and it allows you to open your pictures for friends to tag and search also.
This sounds like it will revolutionise online photos – intelligent search has always been missing from photos.
Riya is, as yet, unavailable to use – it is in Alpha testing still. There is a learn more series of pages on Riya’s capabilities on their website and the option to register your interest. I did. Watch this space!