This week Microsoft Research released two applications for Windows Phone, and while they are novelties, there seems to be something that people have overlooked.
Both apps will take an image and scan it, and isolate facial features, making them swappable, with another face or a mask overlay. The apps are good for a bit of fun, but I think people have overlooked the fact that this is Microsoft bringing facial recognition to Windows Phone.
Android has just come out with a heap of new imaging features, with the ICS update, and it’s been noted that ice cream sandwich, is looking a lot like Windows Phone in a number of ways.
Sorry about the advertisement at the start of the video, but the importance of facial recognition, seems to be gaining momentum. The competition is stiff, but it looks like the race is on in the imaging tech side of our respective OS’s. With Android 4.0 bringing native features like face unlock, these apps are MS playing catch up. With a major WP update not likely before mid 2012, which is also likely to be the timeline for third generation hardware to appear. Face Swap and Face Mask, both apps from MS Research, are probably part of the pre cursor to much more advanced imaging features on Windows Phone. Windows Phone has always been about social, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, all native to the OS.
It seems really logical to test features like this in apps, gauge the response, and decide if there are features in the apps that people would appreciate directly from the pictures hub. Android has the jump on WP with facial recognition, but with it’s age and refresh cycle, that’s really not news. Microsoft can afford to take their time on native features like these, they are amusing, a bit of fun, but not necessary. Although in the feature wars, nifty tech enhancements that are promotable, MS probably wants to match the Android native camera features as soon as possible. Either way, both apps are a lot of fun.