An Early Look At macOS Sierra Photo Searching

A very exciting new feature of the Photos app in macOS Sierra is the ability to search your Photos library for objects. For instance, you can search for 'boat' and it will show you pictures in your library that have a boat. Take a look at how this feature works.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: An Early Look At macOS Sierra Photo Searching.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's take an early look at a new feature that will be in Mac OS Sierra in the Photos app. It actually recognizes objects in photos and allows you to search for them. It is really neat! Take a look.

Next to Siri this is the new feature in Mac OS Sierra that has me most excited. It happens in the Photos app.

So here's my sample photos collection. But my real photos collection is huge, like 60,000 photos. I've been very bad over the years at not tagging them, not titling them, not grouping them together. There's just a ton of different photos there and finding things can be difficult.

Well, what you will be able to do in Sierra is search for things using keywords that you didn't even tag. It's actually going to look at the images and figure out what's in them.

For instance, I'm going to search for the word boat. You can see there it gives a couple suggestions, boat or sailing boat and it lists it as a category and shows me that it has found four pictures in the small collection that have boats in them. If I select it, it's going to show me those. Sure enough it's right. Each one of these four photos, even though taken at very different places in the world at different times, it has identified as having boats.

But it doesn't just work for a few select things. It works for a lot. I'm going to remove the search term there, cancel that, and try some other things. For instance you can see a picture of a flower there and sure enough if I search for flower it finds it. It even shows a sample of what it is going to give me there.

I can search for things like water and it's going to come up with four pictures with water. But even things like waterfront, waterways, things like that. I can also search for things like night. You can see it identifies the one photo here that was taken at night.

Even very specific objects like beer, it actually identifies that I'm holding a beer in this photo and I can search for it.

It is amazing what you can do with this. You can, instead of just searching for faces which we have had for a while so you can identify people in photos, it's actually searching for objects in those photos. You don't even have to do any kind of matching or approval or anything. It's just doing it automatically and it will allow you to search through all your photos very quickly to find something that you want.

Now I've already seen this feature work better through different versions of the beta of Mac OS Sierra. So it's probably even going to work better than this when we get to the final version. But then it will continue from there. This is like the latest technology similar to say how voice recognition was ten years ago and it kept improving and improving to what we have now. This is going to keep improving and improving. Both Goggle and Apple are competing on this. They are both working on the same technology so each are going to be trying to outdo each other.

I see in five to ten years this being extremely accurate and making it worthwhile that I procrastinated in tagging all my photos because I'll just be able to search for them by keywords and it will find the photo that I'm thinking of.

Comments: 7 Responses to “An Early Look At macOS Sierra Photo Searching”

    3 years ago

    Truly amazing! Thanks for the sneak peek. I think I will also procrastinate at tagging my photos, something which I started to do, but you know how that goes.

    Jack Hill
    3 years ago

    What a great addition. I too have k’s of photos un-tagged. This will certainly make my life much easier. Love Macmost

    Sharon Beck
    3 years ago

    Thank you so much Gary…I can’t wait to show your video about Photo’s in the new Sierra system, to the Seniors I teach. They are going to love this. Keep up the great work. We have all come to love what you do for us. Sharon

    Marisa Denton
    3 years ago

    Thanks Gary love your Videos, I also have about 20,000 photos which were all in Events in iPhoto I miss this function if you have any influence with apple please ask them to bring it back, This will be a great search tool but doesn’t really help when you have to search so many photos for a specific event
    Thanks again Marisa

    3 years ago

    Marisa: Bring back Events? Why? You can just use Albums instead. There’s no real difference — well except that Albums are easier to create and control. And photos could only be in one Event, but they can be in multiple albums, so you have more flexibility if you want it. Just use albums!

    Gwen Naden
    3 years ago

    is there any hope we would be able to search for, occasions, birthdays, travel specific countries etc? Thanks, you do an amazing job for us.

    3 years ago

    Gwen: you can already search by date and location. Have been able to for a while.

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