Pain Yields Innovation

Here is a great little article from Wired Magazine about how economic turmoil breeds innovation.

“With the world’s economies apparently snowballing into a deep recession, it feels uncomfortably Pollyannish to see signs of hope. But for the bravest inventors and entrepreneurs, conditions are ideal to pounce on a business opportunity. In periods of economic turmoil, people are hungry and work cheap, and entrenched companies often concentrate on in-house cost-cutting instead of exploring new markets, which can explode with the next turn of the business cycle. When VCs from Foundation Capital met with their nervous investors recently, the partners advised them to stay the course rather than follow their peers into the bunkers. “Our strongest companies have the potential to be whales when the market opens up,” partner Paul Holland told the group. “This is the crucible that forges great companies.”

Google Picasa Name Tags

Just recently, Google Picasa was updated with a new client and web interface.  Unfortunately, they hate Mac users so I stopped using the client in lieu of Apple iPhoto with the Picasa upload client.  Good enough.

The coolest new feature is their support for Name Tags.  Basically, they scan through your photos, do some sort of face recognition and group faces that are similar. After that, you’re able to tag the similar faces all at once.

Why do I think this is interesting?

It provides you with different lens on the same data.  I love that as an innovative concept.  Instead of just viewing the photos by event or chronological order, the photos can be viewed by the most important element, the people.

  • View all photos of …
  • View all photos with the following people …
  • Create slide show with the following people …
  • Share photos with the people tagged …

Best of all, its integrated with their GMail contacts which I just standardized to being my primary rolodex.

The scanning took about an hour on my 750+ MB collection of photos and it did a pretty good job.  The tagging is super easy and view the photos grouped by person is very cool.

It is very cool. You should try it out.