Nov 182013

facenamesThis article is for those of you who like Picasa’s face recognition feature and have People Albums named for the people who appear in your pictures.  You probably spent a fair amount of time identifying all those faces and you don’t want to lose them!  Yet, if you needed to uninstall and re-install Picasa for any reason, your perfectly named People Albums may end up all called <Unknown Person>.

To prevent this from ever happening to you again, you need to be sure the “Store name tags in photo” box is checked.  Here’s where you’ll find that box:

  • Windows: Tools->Options->Name Tags
  • Mac: Picasa->Preferences->Name Tags

If yours is already checked, you’re golden.  If not, realize that checking the box now only affects people that you identify from now on. 

Fixing Existing People

To ‘store name tags in photos’ that you’ve already identified, you can use the Tools->Experimental->Write faces to XMP command.  There are 3 choices: Write Selected, Write Faces, Write All.  If you just have a few People Albums then we recommend you select one album at a time and then use the “Write Selected” option.  If you choose “Write Faces” this will go thru all of your named faces and it will take a while – an hour or more.  Remember when Picasa first scanned all your photos for faces?  I don’t know what “Write All” does.

If you don’t have the option under Tools->Experimental for “Write faces to XMP” that means you’re not using the latest version of Picasa.  You can check the version with Help->About Picasa – as of today (11/25/13) it should be 3.9.0 (Build 136.2).  On a Mac, use Picasa->About Picasa to see the version and it should be 3.9.16.  Go to to download and install it fresh.

Fixing <Unknown Person> Albums

If you have albums with the <Unknown Person> title, it’s not as bad as you may think.  You don’t have to re-identify all the individual pictures.  The Unnamed albums are actually the people albums that you worked so hard to make, they’ve just lost the actual name.  You can rename a People album just like any other Album or Folder:

  1. It’s best to be logged in to your Google Account, then you’ll have access to your synchronized contact list.  If you look in the upper right corner of Picasa and see your email address, you’re logged in.  Otherwise you should see a link to  “Sign In with Google Account”
  2. Double-Click on the album (right where it says ‘Unnamed Person”) or right-click on it and choose Edit Album.
  3. You should now see your list of contacts.  Select the contact name for this person and click “Choose”.  You can just start typing the name and your list will be filtered accordingly.

For Geeks on Tour members, here are some tutorial videos about People albums:

Here is Picasa’s official help page on Name Tags.

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  7 Responses to “Picasa Tip: Keep your People Named by Checking this Box”

  1. I am making a photo montage and am having trouble syncing to the web photos from several computers. Can I talk to a live person? Thanks!

  2. Picasa 3 over writes existing tags in photos egg. I had already tagged all photos bali using properties in explorer then opened picasa to add the names only to discover it overwrote bali with “name” when i want to keep both/all. Any suggestions please

  3. In retro-saving of named photos what is meant by “If logging is set to detailed or higher, etc.”? How do I know where to find this? And, “Signing out is recommended”? Signing out of all other programmes including Picasa? is that possible? Sorry, I am confused. Liz

    • “If logging is set to detailed or higher’ I think refers to some windows setting. Most people don’t have any read-only pictures, so I would’nt worry about that. Signing out refers to the upper right corner ‘Sign Out’ meaning don’t make Picasa work with synchronizing the web albums at the same time its working on your People albums on the computer.

  4. Disappointed as all my face contacts folders still named are still on web yet the folders are empty. Any way around this?

    • If your people albums are empty, that usually means that the pictures they referred to are no longer available. Like if you keep pictures on an external hard drive and you’ve unplugged that drive. Or that Tools Folder manager is no longer watching the folders that contain those pictures.

  5. […] Note: a more recent article on this topic can be found at Keep your People Named by Checking this Box. […]

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