Microsoft Project Oxford Natural-Language Machine-Learning Beta Debuts
More developers can now take the machine-learning technology behind Microsoft's viral hit, How-Old.net, for a spin.Developers looking to build intelligent apps that understand natural language no longer have to wait for an invitation to participate in the Project Oxford private beta. Project Oxford is Microsoft's collection of machine-learning application programming interfaces (API) and services. During this year's Build developer conference, the technology helped the company score a rare viral hit with its age-guessing site, How-Old.net. Within hours of being launched, the site garnered hundreds of thousands of image submissions as users tested the site's attempts to figure out the ages and genders of photo subjects, sometimes to comedic effect. "Starting today, we've further expanded the reach of Project Oxford's Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) with public beta availability, Chinese language support and more pre-built models," Ryan Galgon, senior program manager, Microsoft Technology and Research, said in an Oct. 26 statement. "In addition, beta versions of the Project Oxford face, computer vision and speech SDKs are now available on GitHub." Formerly available on an invitation-only basis, the public beta of LUIS enables developers to build apps that accept natural language inputs, similar to the way Cortana, the digital assistant found in Windows 10, can be used to look up sports scores or set reminders by uttering commands in plain English. Now those capabilities are being opened up to developers targeting the Chinese market, revealed Galgon.
"Chinese support has been one of our most commonly requested features, and now you can create LUIS applications in English or Chinese. In addition, LUIS correctly processes Chinese utterances that include fragments of English," he stated.