Microsoft's new Face Swap app: Now you can put your face anywhere

Developers at Microsoft Bing have created a face-swapping app for Android and iOS.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has hopped on the face-swapping bandwagon with its own version called Face Swap.

As the name suggests, Face Swap lets you superimpose your face pretty much anywhere, so you can see what you'd look like with a new hairdo, a different body, or as a creature or in a scene.

The Android Face Swap app launched on Google Play this week and is coming to the App Store soon.

It's the latest app to join the face-swapping and face-editing craze, led by Snapchat's face filters, which offer sometimes hilarious ways of transforming our selfies. This augmented-reality magic is usually done with the help of a neural network and computer vision.

Facebook got in on the act after acquiring Masquerade last year, the maker of popular face-swapping app MSQRD. Machine-learning researchers at Twitter have also been exploring real-time face swapping with neural networks.

Microsoft's Face Swap lets the person take a selfie, which automatically isolates their face to add it to an image from the camera roll or to one from the web. The app, which hails from Microsoft's Bing organization, uses Bing to find images from the web.

The app's face-swap engine matches the user's skin tone to the image, and adjusts lighting and the position of the head. Microsoft is offering a number of categories to choose from, including hairstyles, fashion, trending scenes, and group photos. After transforming a face, the results can be swiped through.

Microsoft will be hoping to avoid the problems that other face-swapping apps have had in dealing with skin colors.

The creation is the latest app from Microsoft's incubator, The Garage, a space where developers can experiment with apps for Microsoft platforms, iOS and Android.

According to Microsoft, Face Swap has its roots in facial-recognition technology developed by Microsoft Research, while the app was built by an incubation team within Bing. The group decided to create the app after discovering that using facial recognition to merge one face with another produced "compelling" results.

"Face swapping is not a new idea, but we bring surprise and delight with automatic face-swap technology and powerful Bing image search," Microsoft says.

Microsoft promises it will be responding to feedback on the app and plans to add new features in coming months.

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