Microsoft's latest iPhone app can identify your dog's breed based on a photo

Microsoft introduced a new app on Thursday that anyone with a dog should play with because it’s a lot of fun.

It’s called Fetch!, and it’s available for iPhones and on the web. It uses artificial intelligence techniques to classify images of real-world dogs into breeds. On the web, users can upload a photo of a dog, or you can take a picture of your pet using your phone’s camera.

If you upload a picture of, say, a Rhodesian ridgeback, Microsoft should be able to confirm the dog’s breed.

It’s the latest in a line of fun, silly apps released by Microsoft Gargage, an “outlet for experimental projects” that are designed to show off creative and unexpected ways to apply Microsoft’s expertise in artificial intelligence. In the past year, Microsoft has released apps that detect and measures mustaches in photos or guesses your age, for example.

Like Microsoft’s other AI apps, Fetch! should become more accurate as users upload more photos and data. More technical information is available here.

Fetch! is already fairly accurate. Here it accurately identified the breed of a dog belonging to one of BI’s reporters.

And it thinks my cat is a dog with a “99% match.” Incorrect answer, Fetch!

And the app has a sense of humour. When it’s fed an image that’s clearly not a dog, it will make a joke:

Dog classification is a classic challenge for AI researchers. Well-organised datasets for dog breeds are free and widely available. The prestigious ImageNet competition today requires entrants from places like Stanford and Google to identify many different types of images, but back in 2011, it only had one category: dog classification.

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