So starting about five years ago now, I worked on some software to automatically organize digital photos into events. We did some studies showing its accuracy with participant's own photo collections and incorporated it into our "Media Browser" solution that we wrote about
at ICME '05 and again for the Ubicomp PICS workshop
. We were hardly the only ones doing work in this area as we were inspired by the work of Graham et al
at Stanford, Gargi et al
at HP Labs, and others.
My point is that automatically "eventing" personal photo collections is something that's been known for quite some time. And it's always really bugged me that it hadn't made it main stream into any of the big photo tools. All of our research and the research of many others who have studied how people manage print and digital photographs saw that the most salient concept was the event, so why is it 2007, 5+ years after all of this research that it makes its first major appearance?
To me, a lot of it lies in inefficiencies in taking something to a product. But a lot of that is from the motorola perspective. Picasa wasn't even a dream back at this point and clearly they could have put something like this into their app from the start. In any case, it has finally arrived! So go pay your $80 yearly apple tax and try it out!
So, I'm sure you're all wondering how the apple algorithm fared. For me, it worked well with all of the photos I had added to iPhoto after first getting my old mac (2003). But for some reason, it didn't run its algorithm on older photos and stuck those in one giant event. There's a nice interface for splitting and joining events, so the few it did accidentially split or combine were easy to fix. I'm excited to keep trying this out on new photos that I take. This is the #1 feature I've wanted for photo management since we first did our algorithm/study in 2003!