Are you Happy?

Microsoft just announced a bunch of updates to Project Oxford, a set of online services that help developers build more intelligent apps with complicated features like the ability to recognize faces.

The promise of Project Oxford, which was announced last spring at Microsoft’s Build event, is that Microsoft has done a ton research on machine learning that most companies couldn’t do themselves. Microsoft also has the computing power in its data centers to do the processing necessary to carry out these tasks. Put the two together, and Microsoft can help developers do a lot of interesting things they would never be able to do themselves.

But, the coolest update is to the Project Oxford facial-recognition service: It can now “look” at photos and rate how the people in them are feeling, ranking them according to emotions like happiness, anger, or disgust. It’s like Pixar’s “Inside Out,” but in real life.

Take a look:

windows project oxford surpriseMicrosoft

Right now, the Project Oxford site has a simple demo that lets you upload a photo and see how the service rates you on emotional scales. If there are multiple people in the shot, it’ll give you its best guess as to each’s feelings:

project oxford emotionsMicrosoft

The whole point of Project Oxford, which launched earlier this year, is to let programmers do their own thing with these services.

Using the Project Oxford Face API — programmer jargon for the “hooks” that programs use to talk to one another and the web — apps could use this capability for their own ends.

So if you have been thinking about getting into the API game, this is the right time. Meanwhile, Check out their Demo and impress your friends.

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