The first time you run the program it starts searching through your computer’s hard drive, building an index of all the pictures it finds. It quickly analyses each picture using statistical and artificial intelligence algorithms, and builds a database which can be searched using filters. The process is surprisingly quick, and requires no user input. I have well over 20,000 photos on my hard drive, but Photology was able to index all of them in just a few hours. Each time the program is used after that, it quickly checks to see if any new photos have been added, and adds any that it finds to its index.
The user interface is extremely simple and attractively designed. A row of buttons down the left of the screen offer a number of search categories, including date by year and month, the rough time of day (morning, afternoon, evening and night), location (indoors or outdoors), features such as orientation, over or under exposure, degree of focus and monochrome, text from captions or descriptions, the presence of predominant colours, and most interestingly, content. The content search can recognise photos in a number of categories, including plants, faces, sky, beach, flowers, snow, sunset and water. Several filters can be applied at once, each one searching within the results of the previous one, so for example you can search for photos taken in July, during the afternoon, outdoors at the beach. Each filter progressively narrows the search down until you are left with just a handful of pictures that meet all of your criteria, so as long as you know a bit about the photo you are searching for it becomes a lot easier to find it. Because the program searches its own index rather than looking through all of your photos for every search, it is very quick, applying the search filters in just a couple of seconds.
Once you’ve found the photo you were looking for, Photology also offers some very basic editing tools, including rotation, cropping and resizing, and adjustments for brightness and contrast. It also has a very simple one-click operation that allows you to organise your photos into named groups, but without moving the actual files into different folders, so the same image can be included in several different groups. This is a very good way of keeping photos organised, and makes finding related pictures much easier. Captions can be added to photos in the detail view, and double-clicking on an open image starts your default image viewer or editing program and opens the picture using that instead.