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How old are you in your profile pictures?

1st May 2015

Today Microsoft has released the ‘how old’ app which professes to detect from a profile picture exactly how old a person is. The tool had gone viral throughout the day and is currently trending on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve tried it out in the office and although it is a lot of fun to use, we’re not convinced with how accurate it is! And a couple of us are very sure it isn’t accurate… or polite.

If you want to give it a go, visit how-old.net and upload your own photo to see how old Microsoft thinks you are. With our experience so far, we’ve found that if you have shadows on your skin or you wear glasses it tends to presume you are older. It can also distinguish if you’re male or female from the shape of your jawline.

The tool was developed by Corom Thompson and Santosh Balasubramanian who are engineers in information management and machine learning at Microsoft.  They expected about 50 people to give the tool a go and trouble shoot for them having sent it out to a few hundred people via email. Within the next few hours the number rocketed to 35,000 after some tweets about it from users in Turkey. This has continued to grow all day as has resulted in the viral sensation.

The system works by analysing 27 points of the face called facial landmarks. These marks trigger algorithms that are predicted using statistics from other sets of data. This is a fantastic example of using the internet of things and big data by applying intelligence to a data set to get a different result. Of course, because of all the variables involved in predicting someone’s age, it is often not particularly accurate but it’s quite important to remember that it is only meant as a bit of fun.

 How Old Diagram

We’d love to see the results of your photos on the tool, why not send them to us via email on [email protected] or send them to our social media!