A little less than a month ago, Microsoft delivered a late holiday gift to iPhone users with its brand new Microsoft Selfie app, its first selfie and photo enhancement tool on the iOS App store. For those who didn't have the chance to try it, the app's promise is to enhance your selfies by closely analysing your face characteristics and using other tools like automatic noise reduction and exposure. And of course, there are also a nice set of filters to play with.
After listening closely to user feedback, Microsoft's Beijing-based team released last week a first update to the app, which not only brought a new logo and an updated user interface with easier social sharing, but also a fix to a crash in airplane mode. But that's not all, as a recent blog post by Microsoft Research details all the science that goes into making the perfect selfie.
Under the hood, the team explains that the app now uses a new portrait enhancement technique called Digital Face Clean that "intelligently removes undesired features like wrinkles and baggy eyelids, while preserving desired characteristics like hair, mustaches, tattoos and accessories." Furthermore, the app now also improves images quality with "Burst Images De-noising, a technique that intelligently judges light conditions, automatically enables burst shots and leverages multiple frames for better de-noising."
Interestingly, Microsoft Research also specify that all the research done by its Visual Computing group aims to sustain a growing ecosystem: not only does it help to improve other Microsoft offerings like its Office Lens app, but other developers can also use Microsoft technologies through Project Oxford, which powers other services like How-old.net, TwinsOrNot.net and MyMoustache.net.
If Microsoft is clearly taking selfies really seriously, the crowd does seem to agree. According to Peggy Dai, Program Manager of the incubation team, "Microsoft Selfie can produce professional looking photos. Within two weeks after releasing, our app has achieved more than half a million downloads, which is a lovely surprise for our team".
Peggy Dai also points out that more features are coming to the app, and that we also should expect it to be available on more platforms. We don't know what that means for the fate of the Lumia Selfie app on Windows Phone.