A soon-to-be-released website will allow you to search for relatives based on facial characteristics — a technology sure to render traditional genealogical research obsolete.
The beta launch of MyHeritage.com is scheduled for January 2006, but an alpha test — "Find the Celebrity in You" — is already up and running: "Just upload a photo of yourself or family and in a few moments we'll automatically show you which celebrity you resemble the most!" This blogger's boyfriend was a dead ringer for Bette Davis, Cat Stevens, and Mao Zedong.
Here's the gist:
Once you teach MyHeritage.com what your relatives and friends look like, it recognizes and tags them automatically in your photos and in photos submitted by other users (subject to privacy settings that you specify). So you can find any photo you're after by searching for those in it, and find photos of yourself, your ancestors or people who resemble you, even in albums contributed by other users. Our face recognition technology is built to scale to hundreds of thousands of faces, and to recognize peoples' faces throughout different ages of their life.MyHeritage.com also promises more conventional genealogical fare:
What else will we have here? For lovers of genealogy, there's MyHeritage Search: the world's first search engine built specifically for genealogy – a great tool if you're searching for your ancestors or trying to uncover your heritage. Family Tree Builder is our very own genealogy program for setting up a family tree. And there are also searchable genealogy message boards for sharing info with others. All our products are multilingual and multicultural and will support 10 languages initially and additional languages later on.Update (Dec. 24, 2005): Interesting results when I uploaded a picture of Don Knotts: the closest matches were Yuri Gagarin and Jesse Jackson. For really fun results, go to The Smoking Gun's mugshot archive and borrow the mug of your favorite celebrity.