For a exploratory, I tried to create my own service to search people by photos. It was kinda challenge me, and I think I passed it not so bad. In general, I used Python (with Flask and face_recognition which is based on dlib) for converting faces to numbers, MySQL Server 8 for keeping them and searching, Vk API for data retrieving, and a lot of passion & patience.
There was a couple of most difficult problems:
Slow search. To overcome it, initially I wrote many SQL and (Python for SQL creation) to search faces inside DB itself. Then I made my SQL even more complex (in 2 stages), yet faster. It increased speed by another 30 times, so I spent avg 0.000004 sec to compare a face in DB. I wanted to make it parallel, but MySQL don't allow it. So, I thought about using multiple DBs or migrating to something more rapid, PostgreSQL or Paramiko.
Slow Vk API and face recognition. To overcome this, I wrote multi-threading services that can work independently and send results to the server with DB. Then I rented a couple of servers (a pair of VPN and a real dedicated one), and asked my friends to generate access tokens. So, I had 3 servers with 2-10 running processes on each with 2-4 threads in each.
And that led to the problem of multiple servers handling... To solve this I wrote Python scripts for quick and simple servers turning on/off, status checking over SSH. It is just awesome to get rid of console and control dozens of programs on remote servers with just a few clicks. And of course my central server had nice page with accumulated info about workers status, speed and DB size.
Eventually, I've got 25% of Vk users processed. But I thought that search by photo shouldn't be the only tool of my project, I created some code to find profiles by substring in their names, logins, or other linked accounts names (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Telegram). In addition, I made it possible to significantly reduce search time by filtering people by some groups or friends lists. I even wanted to create custom query language for mixing such lists (AND/OR logic).
But finally I understood that the project has no commercial prospects, and all of my exploratory interest was was completely satisfied. I started it somewhere in the October 2018, and closed in February 2019. I hope it may be interesting to other people.
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