When the build 5308 of Windows Vista came out I took a look at the bundled Windows Photo Gallery application and was not too impressed. Now that beta 2 of Vista is out, I thought I’d look again to see what has changed in Windows Photo Gallery. As far as I can see, from my standpoint of wanting an application to manage image metadata, the answer appears to be: nothing.
Windows Photo Gallery does appear to expose the Keywords metadata of the legacy IPTC/IIM specification in image files. These are exposed as “Tags” in the Photo Gallery application. But nothing of the rest of the legacy specification appears to be supported, and nothing of IPTC Core seems to be supported. Well, OK, it’s still only beta, but it would have been nice to have seen a step or two forward being taken.
And while I’m being a grumpy old man, I might as well rant on about the way in which Microsoft have implemented searching by tags in Windows Photo Gallery. To my way of thinking, searching through a collection using multiple tags is an “AND” function. That is, if I search on a collection using the tags: “restaurant” and “London”, I would think that the result would be a set of images that contains only pictures of restaurants in London. Nope, not according to the good people in Microsoft. What I get is a huge set containing all pictures having the “London” tag and all pictures having the “restaurant” tag. This is, not to put too fine a point on it, <grumpy old man> bloody useless, you bunch of idiots </grumpy old man>. Lord knows, I’ve ranted on about Adobe developers in the past, but at least they managed to implement tag search as an “AND” function in the Organizer of PhotoShop Elements, as well as giving an effective “OR” function into the bargain.
Microsoft developers also seem to have a totally different brain pattern to me when it comes to selecting images by using the Rating criterion in Windows Photo Gallery. I would have thought that if I select the “three-star” rating, I would see all photos that have a “three-star” rating… Er, no, what I see is all photos that have a “three-star”, a “four-star” or a “five-star” rating. If I want to see just “three-star” photos, I have to explicity CNTRL-Click on the “four-star” and “five-star” rating. Now maybe it’s just me, but this seems totally counter-intuitive. I’ve spent 20 years with Windows saying that CNTRL-Click is used to first add additional objects to a selection. Now, Windows Photo Gallery is trying to tell me that it’s used to first subtract additional objects from a selection… I think I’m getting too old for this.