Photo organizing provides flickers of tactile accomplishment, like, say, when all of the pictures are sorted into neat piles. But it also brings moments of pure emotional poignancy: When you can see how a child has grown over the years —  and perhaps became a parent herself — the great sweep time reveals itself. It can take your breath away.

How Facial Recognition Works

There’s no better way to fast-track that feeling than to use a facial recognition tool, which quickly gathers the photos of a particular person, regardless of how much time has gone by, regardless of how the person has aged. The technology behind the tool is fascinating: Mylio’s free face-recognition software uses biometrics to measure facial features in photos, identifying facial “landmarks” and noting their precise shape, size, and position relative to other markers. These measurements are then used to search for other images with matching measurements. The results are stunning: Almost instantly, you might see hundreds of pictures of a particular person taken over the course of her life, from the time she was a toddler to when she became a grandmother. As celebrated outdoors photographer Daniel J. Cox has said, “Facial recognition in Mylio is absolutely mind-boggling. You’ll be stunned at how accurate this tool is.”

Using Face Recognition to Find a Person

Obviously, this makes photo organization a snap: Once you tag someone, Mylio’s facial recognition tool will identify that person in all future photos, both those already in your library and those that are newly uploaded. The person’s face — rather than a keyword or location tag — becomes the method of categorization and search. Think of it as face-tagging.

The process is intuitive: Open a photo and turn on Face Recognition. You’ll see an oval appear around each face in the picture which prompts you to identify the person. That’s it. From then on, every time the person shows up, Mylio asks you to confirm that it’s the right person, which improves its accuracy over time.

Find a Person By Face Recognition

Once someone has been tagged in a photo, a custom album will appear in the People View dedicated to that person. Whenever you add a new picture of that person to your library, Mylio automatically includes the photo in the dedicated album. Mylio also allows you to identify people in batches so that a single click confirms that, yes, every photo in the batch is, in fact, of Aunt Phyllis — even if she’s wearing a hat or earmuffs or changed her hair or is 30 years older than the previous picture.

In a group shot with a handful of faces, Mylio recommends a name for each person, one at a time. When you identify the first face, you advance automatically to the next face. If Mylio detects a face that you don’t want to ID — like a photo-bombing stranger — you simply select “Ignore” to move past the selection. Of course, there are also cases, like concerts or protests or other crowded events, where the camera picked up many faces you want to ignore. This is easily handled, as well.

The Face-Recognition Payoff

One benefit of having smart facial-recognition software built in your photo library is that it’s absurdly easy to find photos of a particular person. (Simply go to People View and click on the person’s album.) If you’ve ever thought about creating a photo album or creating a slideshow for someone’s birthday or anniversary, but feared the time-suck of having to sift through thousands of photos, the face recognition tool does the heavy lifting, consolidating all of the photos in a snap.

Photos, of course, hold the stories of our lives. And face recognition helps unify those stories — specifically, by bringing together photos of our loved ones and putting them at the center of our stories so we can focus on what truly matters: the relationships we’ve built over time.