Microsoft has introduced a new website that allows users to upload a photo, after which the website will tell the user how old they are and which gender they are. The only problem is that it rarely works.
Users are reporting that the website guess their age wrong, their gender wrong, and even sometimes said that there wasn't a face detected in the picture.
The service is supposedly a way for Microsoft to show off its new, smarter applications that are able to use facial recognition and large amounts of data to make intelligent guesses about a person. Some joke that the service is more of a website used to guess how old a person isn't. In fact, it was even off by almost 10 years when entering a picture of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
While you don't really have to submit a photo of yourself, the photo does have to be under 3 MB. You can also choose an image from a Bing image search.
The new website has become very popular very quickly. It was first shown off in a demonstration at BUILD, and Microsoft is even having trouble keeping the servers up for the website.
While it might not get the age or gender right all the time, it certainly shows how Microsoft is thinking about the future of its technology and how facial recognition will play an important part in it. In fact, Microsoft should be able to use all the data that it is getting from this service in order to better understand how to use facial recognition and what it needs to change in order to improve it.
The website itself was first designed to be a small test among around 50 people, however, the developers behind it were shocked to see that it soon blew up, with 35,000 users hitting the page from around the world.
"We were playing with Microsoft's newly released Face detection API's through a webpage called http://how-old.net. This page lets users upload a picture and have the API predict the age and gender of any faces recognized in that picture," said the company on its technical blog. "We sent email to a group of several hundred people asking them to try the page for a few minutes and give us feedback — optimistically hoping that at least 50 people would give it a shot. We monitored our real time analytics dashboard to track usage and, within a few minutes, the number of people using the site vastly exceeded the number of people we had sent our email to."
It's quite possible that the website will improve over time as Microsoft continues to develop its facial recognition capabilities.