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Say what you will about the giant from Redmond, Microsoft can be pretty awesome. It’s a technology giant that employs thousands of the world’s smartest engineers, and ends up building some really cool things.
Not everything that comes out of Microsoft gets a lot of attention. Not everything deserves it either. But there are some Microsoft apps and services that deserve to be known. Some are useful, some are entertaining, and some are genius — and you should know about them all.
1. How Old (Web): Upload a Photo to See How Old You Look
There is now a robot that can look at a photo of you and try to guess your age. More importantly for the ego factor, it’s a reality check about how old the average person thinks you look!
How Old is a cool Microsoft project that relies on the big data and personal data economy to make smart connections. By crunching the numbers from different data points, the robot has gathered signs that mark age on a human face. It then takes your photo and looks for those points on your face. Depending on the correlation and patterns, it will guess your age.
Microsoft says that all these calculations are made with the assumption that the robot is “thinking” like a human. So while its guess might not be accurate to your real age, it’s a good estimate of how old you look.
2. What Dog (Web, iOS): Which Breed Is Your Dog… Or You?
What Dog is another smart robot to look at photos and figure something out. This time, it’ll look at a picture of your dog and smartly answer which breed it is.
It can be a cool tool if you have a mixed breed, or to see which of the genetic breeds your dog leans towards. And if you have rescued a stray, you might be able to figure out its roots too.
But what’s more fun is to upload a photograph of yourself or your friends, and then let the artificial intelligence tell you which dog breed your human face most closely resembles! Try it the next time you go to the bar with your buddies.
Download — Fetch for iPhone and iPad (Free)
3. Celebs Like Me (Web): Find Your Celebrity Twin
After figuring out how old you are and which dog breed you look like, the last of Microsoft’s three face-matching tools is perhaps the most flattering. Let’s find out which famous celebrity you look like!
If you always thought that you bear a resemblance to Ryan Gosling or Anne Hathaway, now is the time to find out. Again, the mechanism is simple. Upload a profile picture of yours with the face clearly visible, and Microsoft’s artificial intelligence will figure out who’s your celebrity twin.
You’ll get a percentage match of the one you look like the most, as well as three runners-up. It’s always going to be fascinating to say you look like Adam Savage of Mythbusters, eh?
4. Telepathwords (Web): Password Strength Checker
Microsoft’s Research wing keeps making some cool things that don’t get much attention. One of those is Telepathwords, a tool to make secure passwords that can’t be easily cracked.
Telepathwords tries to predict the next character in your password by using a combination of common phrases, passwords, and password-selection behavior. So type in your password and see how many tick marks and crosses you get. The red crosses indicate guessable characters, so you might want to replace them to make memorable but unbreakable passwords.
It’s a simple tool that will quickly give you an idea of your password’s strength and how hard it is to crack. Try to make something with all green tick marks so you’re assured that it’s difficult for hackers to break through.
5. Word Flow (iOS): The Great Windows Phone Keyboard, Now on iPhone
Microsoft may have made a few errors with Windows Phone, but it got one thing right: the brilliant keyboard. Its patented Word Flow technology is perfection, and made even better since the company bought popular third-party iOS keyboard Swiftkey.
Word Flow is now available as a free download for iPhones. And it has some cool features to boot. Its one-handed “arc mode” pins the keyboard to the bottom-right corner, making it easier to type with one hand on the larger iPhone Plus handsets.
Microsoft has also packaged its search engine into the keyboard. Much like Google’s fantastic Gboard keyboard, you can search from within the app, add GIFs and emojis, share contacts, and much more. It’s as good as a keyboard can get.
Download — Word Flow for iPhone (Free)
What’s Your Favorite Microsoft App?
So here’s a simple question. Which Microsoft software have you liked the most? I know most people are going to go with the big two — Windows or Office — but if you exclude those from consideration, what’s your favorite lesser-known Microsoft gem?
Image Credits:Microsoft by K?rlis Dambr?ns via Flickr