PhotoDater AI Determines Approximate Picture Age


Some of us have more than a few old photos lying around.

grayscale photo of Eiffel tower on top of white envelope
Grayscale photo of Eiffel tower on top of white envelope. Photo by Joanna Kosinska

And while the best memory might serve you correctly most of the time, it’s often pretty difficult to remember where and when certain pictures were taken – especially if it is years after the fact.

Now imagine you’re trying to date a photograph from a time before your own. That’s even more difficult yet, with the help of artificial intelligence (naturally), all of this can be accomplished much more efficiently now than in the past.

How did all of this come about? Ancestry website MyHeritage debuted the product and, as one of the world’s foremost repositories of genealogical information, PhotoDater has had more than enough training on old pictures.

PhotoDater is similar in terms of execution to other AI platforms we’ve discussed, namely PhotoDater uses a “proprietary machine learning algorithm developed by MyHeritage to provide an estimate of the year when a photo was taken. The date estimation algorithm was trained on tens of thousands of curated, definitively dated historical photos to help the algorithm understand nuances such as clothing, hairstyles, facial hair, furniture, and other objects that are characteristic of a particular decade.”

Drawing on a myriad of sources including historical photos from the Library of Congress in the United States, PhotoDater is specifically designed to help place people within a certain time. In other words, it won’t work on a photograph without people or, for that matter, an image that isn’t even a photograph.

You can check out more about PhotoDater on YouTube at this link.

Do you have any old photos for PhotoDater? Let us know what you think of this novel use of AI in the comments.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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