UPDATE on Thursday, June 30, 2011: You may have noticed a box appearing on the right of your home page called "Photos are better with friends". This is a new way of telling you about features we have added to Facebook such as our Photo Tag Suggest. We showed this over 2.7 billion times to help people to learn about the feature and how they can control it.
UPDATE on Tuesday, June 7, 2011: We've been rolling Tag Suggestions out over the last several months and this feature is now available in most countries. We'll continue to post updates here as the roll-out progresses.
Original Post Dec. 15, 2010.
Every day, people add more than 100 million tags to photos on Facebook. They do it because it's an easy way to share photos and memories. Unlike photos that get forgotten in a camera or an unshared album, tagged photos help you and your friends relive everything from that life-altering skydiving trip to a birthday dinner where the laughter never stopped. Tags make photos one of the most popular features on Facebook.
While tags are an essential tool for sharing important moments, many of you have said tagging photos can be a chore. (Like that time you had to tag your cousin and her fiancé over and over and over again in 64 different pictures of their engagement party, and then go back and tag the guests.)
Since October, we've been working to make this process easier for you. First we added group tagging, so you could type one name and apply it to multiple photos of the same person. Now we're announcing tag suggestions, which will make tagging multiple photos even more convenient.
Because photos are such an important part of Facebook, we want to be sure you know exactly how tag suggestions work: When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software—similar to that found in many photo editing tools—to match your new photos to other photos you're tagged in. We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos.
If for any reason you don't want your name to be suggested, you will be able to disable suggested tags in your Privacy Settings. Just click "Customize Settings" and "Suggest photos of me to friends." Your name will no longer be suggested in photo tags, though friends can still tag you manually. You can learn more about this feature in our Help Center.
Now if you upload pictures from your cousin's wedding, we'll group together pictures of the bride and suggest her name. Instead of typing her name 64 times, all you'll need to do is click "Save" to tag all of your cousin's pictures at once. By making tagging easier than before, you're more likely to know right away when friends post photos. We notify you when you're tagged, and you can untag yourself at any time. As always, only friends can tag each other in photos.
We'll be debuting tag suggestions to users in the United States over the next few weeks. Look for tags suggestions when you upload groups of photos that feature the same friends, and see how they can help you share life's occasions—large and small—every day.
Justin Mitchell, a Facebook engineer, is looking forward to spending more time making memories and less time tagging them.