Sep 292009

facesPicasa came out with a new version last week … version 3.5.  The biggest new feature is face recognition and name tags.  Picasa will scan through all your photos, mark the ones with faces, and put them in a group called ‘unnamed people.’  Then, you can look at those people and give them names.  After you have given a few pictures names, Picasa will try to match the other unnamed people to the ones you have identified. ·  (Tutorial Videos:Naming Faces)

This is all way cool, but it also is a bit time consuming.  If you have thousands of photos, it could take 24 hours or even more for Picasa to go through the first scan.  You may want to turn it off temporarily so that you can work on other things in Picasa without being interrupted.  Or you may not be interested in the face recognition feature at all.

To turn it off:

  1. Tools / Options
  2. Uncheck ‘Enable Face Detection’


When you’re ready to let it resume working on face detection, you can go back and check the box again.

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  29 Responses to “Picasa 3.5: How to Turn Off Face Recognition”

  1. I opened face recognition pictures that actually had more then one person in it. Once I know which ones I wanted printed I attached to an email and sent them away to be printed and returned to me. When I received several hundred pictures back they did not show “the whole picture” they showed only the “blown up face of face recognition” I have shut face recognition off but I want to return all the pictures on face recognition to their original status. How do I do that? This has already been a very expensive “free” feature.

    • When you’re looking at faces, you should see two icons in the upper right corner. One is just a face, the other is a square with 4 arrows pointing outward. The face button means “show me just the identified faces” the square with arrows means “show me the whole picture.” Make sure to show whole picture before printing, exporting, uploading etc.

    • When you’re looking at faces, you should see two icons in the upper right corner. One is just a face, the other is a square with 4 arrows pointing outward. The face button means “show me just the identified faces” the square with arrows means “show me the whole picture.” Make sure to show whole picture before printing, exporting, uploading etc.

  2. Let me start by saying Picassa is a pretty cool bit of software. I like it and have used it a long time and have it as I like it but I have just had problems along with many others with the ‘face recognition’ update.

    So I start up Picassa and it starts doing an auto update, then before I know it, it’s busy doing something that is going to take hours AND I don’t know what it is doing because I never asked it to do anything. Then I frustratingly work out what it is doing but can find no way of interrupting it! Who is in charge here!
    Why oh why try to add features in this heavy-handed way. Make me aware of it and allow me to turn it on please not vice-versa.

    Now I have this half filled folder at the top of my list called ‘People’ which I don’t want and can’t clear down or disable. Why can’t I have my folders as I LIKE them. Stop being too clever and forcing stuff onto users like this. Yes, a lot of people may like it. Fine, then let them turn it on, don’t default to everyone gets everything.

    Other than that, keep up the good work *8-}

    • You can disable it in Tools->Options->Name Tags then UNcheck “Enable Face Detection” And, btw, I don’t have anything to do with making Picasa – I don’t work for Google, I am an independent technology teacher who happens to specialize in Picasa.

  3. I am enjoying my Picasa experience so far EXCEPT the Face Recognition being on by default and not having a “clear and easy” method to turning it off. It frustrated me that while I was tinkering with the program, I had this long “scanning” procedure going on in the background until I finally gave up searching the options on my own trying to figure out how to turn it off and google’d for the solution.

    For future releases of Picasa, have this OFF by default… because it greatly frustrated me that I had this feature running and had no idea how to stop it. Felt pretty invasive.

  4. I did not ask for face recognition. I do not want it. Picasa did not ask me if I wanted it. It may be “neat” software, but why would I want to save cropped pictures of movie stars or every picture I ever saved? That is too invasive. Picasa and Google are assuming that the average computer user is too stupid to crop their own pictures. I resent that implication!

    • Andsy = well then, this article is for you, telling you how to turn off the feature. btw, face recognition doesn’t crop your photos – it doesn’t touch your photos. It just shows you each face in the photo so you can identify it *if* you want.

      • Hi Chris! What Andsy writes & I agree with is; other than the basics of the software, let the user activate the extras like “Face Recognition”,etc. Thanks! Juli 😉

  5. I really love these advanced features.

    What i dont like is that they go and scan your harddrive without even asking for your permission.

    Reason enough for me to ditch picasa.

    • Hi Sigh! Yep! Andsy & I also find the auto harddrive scan intrusive. For me as intrusive as a complete stranger looking through my underwear drawers – who does that?!?

    • Picasa 2 does not do that – I don’t think it does anyway. I downloaded version 3 to make my Artfire banner.

  6. Can’t remove faces from the People Folder. Turned Face recognition off and faces appeared in the People folder anyway. It should be obvious. Right click on the folder or faces, no option to remove permanently. Should be able to delete faces, and should be able to disable face and people folder using Rt Click.

    By the way. I had to uninstall to cancel face scanning. Why can’t I cancel and disable scanning from the scan status tool?
    I like to import folders manually. Why can’t I choose folders during the install?

    Picasa install takes off automatically importing folders in My Documents. No control previous to the scan. I have to remove all pictures from My Documents to keep Picasa from importing.

    I really don’t like the faces scan and will never use it. Why not ask to add this feature, as an add-on?

    Oh yes, the delete from Disk in the pull down windows will delete whether of not the files are visible in the current view. It deletes whole folders, current images, and all the edits to those images. Once deleted there is no undo. I lost a ton of work with that smartalick function. Fortunately I found the files in Recycle bin but I lost all my edits on hundreds of images. There should be a way to undo accidental deletes.

  7. Once switch face recognition feature off, I want to clear my ignore faces album. How to do it?

    • hmmm – not exactly sure. With most albums, you can just click on the album and press Del. I don’t see an ignore faces album on mine. But – I do see an ‘Unnamed People’ album and, while viewing that, I have the choice of ‘Show Ignored Faces’ or ‘Back to Unnamed.’ The ‘ignored faces’ album doesn’t seem to get in the way to me.

      • Why in the world do I want 350 faces of my grandchild, or anybody?
        Good news is that I found I could edit photos and even print them.

  8. Man, I hate this new feature. It could scan for hours and what is the purpose? To show how smart this piece of software is!

  9. Face recognition. As with anything new and different it takes some to translate what the developers thought and how to get into their heads and make it work. OR NOT! Seems FR begins with every at picasa start IF new pictures are recognized or an older folder is added. I’ve ignored them for a while but yesterday I took the time to have a looksee. Doesn’t appear that good. Misses so many. Identifies c5 Corvette tail lights? Sunglasses I presume. And shows images I’ve not recognized afore. Hunting for the source no help as the find on disc OR in picasa points to the same grouping and that face ain’t there! So I’ve turn FR off. Foro now.

    Naming all of them? I guess it’s great practice for law enforcement schools. I’m still coming to grips with tags. Looking for improvements to do it quicker. Possibly with a drop down menu of several quick tags groupings. I’m still under my old thinking of off loading the camera to a folder by date which may have several dates and several ‘scenes’ Including occasional one time images. Taking the time to tag all at that moment is out of the question with the existing tools. I’ll try to tag the first in a grouping or the individual ones in that grouping so I can find an do the rest later. I suppose there is methodology to ‘do it right’ to begin with when of loading. But then one now has two (or more) of them methodologies to deal with. Me thinks that some brief instructions and appropriate tools may ease the transition for the nubees like me.

  10. This tool feels like an invasion of privacy. I do not like it and should not have been set to work by default. Please remove this feature and everything it does from Picasa. It was such a great program, I only upgraded because once the new version became available, I started having all types of problems with the install.

    • Follow the instructions in the article above and Face Recognition will be turned off.

      • Sorry Chris – perhaps for Picasa 3.5 but the instructions don’t apply to Picasa 3.8.
        The steps are:
        -TOOLS/FOLDER MANAGER/FACE DETECTION OFF and happy deleting 🙂

        • Andy – the instructions you mention are to turn face detection on or off folder by folder (of course turning it off for the My Pictures folder will get most everything) – this will also remove any face information that has already been done. The instructions in the article still work to turn the face scanning feature off altogether.

  11. I do NOT want face recognition on Picasa. Please remove now!

    Ellis Campfield

  12. Hi Chris, I had a huge problems with Picasa 2 and had to dump the program. Everytime I tried to get to P-2 my computer went crazy, flashing all sorts of letters and meaningless stuff and I would have to close her up. Finally with much help form Picasa friends, I downloaded again and have P-3, and now I am uptight about trying 3.5. Have you heard of anyone having problems with this new program? Thanks in advance and I really enjoy all you help and tips, I can use the progrem with much more ease.

  13. HI Chris,
    Wow it does take awhile to scan those faces 🙂 I have maybe 30,000 pictures dating from 1957 including 3 kids, 7 grandkids and one great plus other relatives and friends…yikes. I started the scan Sunday morning right after downloading the new Picasa and it was still sorting 36 hours later. I’ve turned it off and on but I bet it has run 48 hours and is still finding faces. It is amazing and fascinating. I love to see whose face it “misplaces”…teling me a lot about who looks like who!

    Thanks for all the information you put out for us! You make the learning soooo easy.

    Joan Weise

  14. Think I have downloaded Picasa 3.5 but nothing shows that I have 3.5—it still show just 3…….But I think I have the face recognition feature already. Do I have 3.5 or just 3.

    Thank you very much—-Art

    • The way to check your version is with the Help menu, then click ‘About Picasa’ You should see 3.5 there – everywhere else it just says ‘3’

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