Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has released an app named “Fetch!” which can tell you what breed a certain dog is. Perhaps drawing inspiration from other recognition apps such as SoundHound, which recognizes a music track based on a short audio clip, Microsoft’s app can be useful for users to get acquainted with various dog breeds. If you feel like having a bit of fun, the app can even tell you which breed you would be if you were a dog.
As Microsoft outlined in its feature post, the Fetch! App is a graduate of Microsoft’s Garage labs and draws on data from Project Oxford. Utilizing artificial intelligence, this project is a follow-up of other ventures by Microsoft such as HowOld.net, MyMoustache.net and TwinsOrNot.net. Fetch! makes the best of new, powerful machine learning technology to deliver near-accurate results – if the app’s reviews are anything to go by. Mitch Goldberg, the Microsoft Research Development Director responsible for the canine app experience, said that the eventual aim was “to show that object recognition is something anyone could understand and interact with.”
Microsoft claims that the app is addictive after a few tries. If the app cannot recognize the exact breed of the dog, it will tell the percentage of resemblance that the dog bears to any specific breed. You can tap on the percentage to bring up a list of the top five breeds that the dog is comprised of. Further information can be found on any specific breed.
Interestingly enough, the app cannot be tricked into saying that an inanimate object looks like a dog. Pointing at a plant will have the app respond with “No dogs found! Hmmm… This looks more like… plant?” However, when users snap a picture of a human being, the app will tell you which breed of a dog the subject best resembles. The app will reveal why it chose that particular breed to describe the person. It is unlikely that Fetch! can fetch accurate personality results based on a person’s picture, which makes this seem like a fun version of all those personality quizzes found on Facebook. Microsoft hinted at this when it revealed that no two photographs will yield the same results – you could be a Chihuahua in one picture, and a Bulldog in the next.
Images can be shared through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through emails. If you want to keep memorabilia of your results, a scrapbook feature can store your results and pictures. The app also contains information on different dog breeds, even telling readers the type of families that different dogs are suited to. Microsoft has curated information for the app after getting feedback from kennel clubs and dog experts.
Given that the app is working with deep neural networks, the machine learning technology helps it train to be better. Hence, the app will not necessarily be perfect when it starts out, but as it learns more about individuals, the app will certainly keep on improving. Microsoft reveals that the tech behind this app is fairly advanced, and requires hard work to enable the app to detect subtle differences in photographs.
The app has a built-in feedback feature to help it improve; in case the app “misdiagnoses” a picture, users can tell Microsoft, through feedback, what the actual breed of the dog is. The company will then improve the app’s recognition capability and draft trends to improve. What seems like a fairly light and humorous attempt at an app, could actually be the beginning of some of the most integral AI work undertaken by Microsoft. iOS users can download the app from the App Store to get started on their canine adventure.