Microsoft today announced updates to its portfolio of machine learning tools. Until now they have fallen under the Project Oxford name, but now they are being rebranded to Microsoft Cognitive Services. The Project Oxford website now redirects to the new Cognitive Services website.

In total there are 22 APIs available in Cognitive Services now, said Microsoft senior program manager lead Cornelia Carapcea.

And now there are prices for the new services, along with application programming interfaces (APIs) made available from Microsoft’s Bing search division. Developers can still try out these services for free.

The brand name Cognitive Services is a nod to IBM’s Watson, which for the past few years has been marketed as a “cognitive computing” product — that is, one that’s based on the way the human brain works.

This is one of many announcements Microsoft is making this week at its Build developer conference in San Francisco.

Project Oxford’s Face application programming interface (APO) was the technology behind the How Old Do You Look? app, which turned into a meme because it got the ages of so many people whose photos were used to test it out hilariously wrong.

In November Microsoft fleshed out the portfolio with an API that could detect the emotion in a person’s face in an image. The company also said that services for spell checking, facial tracking and motion detection in videos, speech recognition for individuals, and smile prediction would be coming.

All of the Project Oxford services — including the Face API, the Speech API, and the Custom Recognition Intelligent Service (CRIS) — were in preview, and the new Cognitive Services are still in preview.

Now Microsoft is working on allowing developers to customize the new Cognitive Services to meet their own needs, Carapcea said.

More on Cognitive Services can be found in a blog post today from Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Mcirosoft’s data group.

Update at 3:15 p.m. Pacific: Added that the Cognitive Services are still in preview.


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