Could my loyal dog and I really resemble each other? According to Fetch!, a fun new app for dog lovers, I’m a border collie — great athleticism, an intense stare and high intelligence. Though the description is hardly true about me, it's a fun way to see what we might have in common with our furry friends.
Upload photos of your dog, and Fetch! tries to identify your dog's breed. The Microsoft-made program works quite accurately, to the delight of many dog lovers. If your dog is a mixed or unknown breed, the app shows how close it is to a known breed.
Although Fetch! is best used as a fun app to help recognize dog breeds, it can also be used to compare people’s faces with known dog breeds. The results can be hilarious. Try it on your own photo, a friend's photo or even for your enemies! Results can vary; for instance, Fetch! matched different photos of the same person with different dog breeds. If you upload non-dog or non-human photos, the app tells you “No dogs found!” and tries to guess what the object in the photo is.
The artificial intelligence that powers Fetch! needs to be taught by providing it with accurate dog images, correct information about canine breeds and machine intelligence. This lets it mimic the way people look at images, making sense of what they contain and making judgments about them. According to Microsoft research director Mitch Goldberg, Fetch! relies on deep neural networks, a machine learning technique that allows the app to detect the very small differences in breeds even among similar breeds and can also sift through the various colors within breeds. Microsoft created a similar app last year that determines how old you are based on your photo.
Fetch! is available from the Apple App Store. If you don't use Apple devices, use Fetch!’s online interface at What-Dog.net.
[Image credit: Elmer Montejo / Techlicious; Microsoft]