Microsoft Uses Its Face Detection Technology to Guess Your Emotion

And it's almost always wrong.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched a website that attempted to guess your age based on a photo. Today, it has expanded its recognition software to detect emotion from facial expressions.

The new site, courtesy of Microsoft’s Project Oxford, gives you a read out analyzing the levels of Anger, Contempt, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Neutral, Sadness, and Surprise expression in the photo.

What Microsoft’s Emotion Demo can’t do, however, is detect your inner turmoil and lingering psychological demons.

I got over 92 percent Neutral. The app can't detect my shame.

Matthew Strauss

The site uses Microsoft’s application program interface (API), the same as it uses for Ryan Galgon, a senior program manager within Microsoft’s Technology and Research group, said the emotion recognition could become potentially useful to shop owners and marketers who want to gauge customers’ reactions to products and displays.

Inverse's Winston Cook-Wilson is a complicated man, straddled between Happiness and Neutrality.

Matthew Strauss

Microsoft has applied API technology, face verification, speech recognition, spell checking, and more. It’s also undergone more fun ventures, such as, which tells you how good your mustache is — or if you even have one. It’s in honor of Movember, the monthlong celebration of mustaches to support prostate cancer research.

I thought it might give me more accurate results than the Emotion API. I was wrong.

Microsoft's tells boldface lies.

Matthew Strauss

For now, Microsoft’s APIs are fun gimmicks. The Emotion API, for instance, relies heavily on smiles. It can’t really tell you how you’re feeling, just kind of how you look. The mustache app is hopeless, though. Don’t use it.