I already have 20, 000 photos in two flickr accounts. It would be cooler if Riya read my existing flickr photos (with my permission of course) and auto-tagged them. The true value of Riya is in its auto-tagging and facial recognition not in re-inventing flickr, nicht wahr?

From First Screen Shots of Riya.:

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The process starts with registration and choosing a privacy setting on your pictures. You then download a client application that uploads photos you choose to include in Riya. The actual uploading takes a while - about 4 hours for each GB of photos. Instead of waiting around, Riya will email you when the process is complete.

That's when the fun starts. In my case about 400 pictures were uploaded. I was presented with a view of facial thumbnails of everyone in my photos. Riya asks that you begin to educate it by telling it who the people are-it then very quickly starts to auto-tag pictures with a surprising level of accuracy.

Riya also recognizes text in photos, and lets you select any area of a photo and tag that as well. For instance, you could select just the Eiffel Tower in a photo and tag it as such. Within moments, everything of importance in all of my photos was tagged. And more importantly, it was searchable.

It's an easy step to allow friends to also tag and search your photos (if you choose), and even allow full public search.

Linking these two features - massively automated tagging of everything in photos, with search, is compelling to say the least. The folks at Riya call it "tag locally, search globally".

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