The Fetch! App Creates Giggles and Puppy Love

The Fetch! App Creates Giggles and Puppy Love

Karen RoguskiThursday,25 February 2016

Fetch!, released earlier this month for iOS, is the latest app in a long line of artificial intelligence apps being produced by Microsoft within the Microsoft Garage division and Project Oxford’s AI.

Fetch! provides a fun experience, but the primary function of this application is to learn and recognize various dog breeds. The current version of Fetch! has 109 choices of dog breeds that it can sort through when operated. Upon download and when opening the Fetch! app, users have the option of searching a listing of offered breeds, opening their phone’s photo library, or taking a new photo.

At this point, you’re all set to begin taking photos of the family dog. The Fetch! app doesn’t stop there; it can be used in the place of the standard camera for all your normal photo-taking needs.

The AI automatically just does its magic once a photo is snapped. As soon as a bone stops spinning within the app, Fetch! tries to recognize and inform you about the subject of your photo.

“If you take a picture of a person, it’ll kick into its hidden fun mode. And in a playful way, it’ll communicate to you not only what type of dog it thinks you are, but also why. It’s fun to see if the app knows it’s not a dog. A lot of the time, it’ll tell you what that image is. When there’s not a dog, you still want to use it,” explained the app’s development director, Mitch Goldberg.

If the Fetch! app isn’t enough as a source of entertainment, then you will be happy to learn that Microsoft has also developed the What-Dog.net website. It allows users to download the app, submit their own photos, share their photos, and even utilize photos online found already on the website. The addition of the free website is an unexpected added bonus.

The app’s primary issue is that it’s often way off the mark in terms of accuracy. For example, many dog owners are reporting that the app is often totally and completely wrong (same goes for people — see below).

Fetch! is wrong about this terrier  Fetch! misses the mark on Ted Cruz

Microsoft might have jumped the gun a little when launching Fetch!, as many people have become frustrated and have stopped using (or deleted) the app. The adults in my household have chosen to wait for the next update to see if a solution for the inaccuracies can be found; by contrast, the children laugh and giggle with each and every chirp and moo given off when the ‘camera with sound option’ is selected.

Criteria Scores – Usability: 10/10, Design: 10/10, Utility and/or Joy: 10/10, Performance: 7/10 (primarily because tweaks are needed), Onboarding: 7/10 (the website options dramatically improved this category). Overall Score: 8.8 of 10.

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Image Credit: anji barton on Flickr



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