Microsoft appears to be trying to steal some of the thunder from Snapchat.
The technology giant debuted Tuesday a new mobile app that lets people take pictures of themselves and add silly captions or graphics to the pictures, similar to the popular photo app Snapchat.
The new Sprinkles app is currently only available for iPhone users, and Microsoft did not say when it would debut for Android or Windows-powered smartphones.
What makes Sprinkles different from Snapchat is that the app uses Microsoft’s various artificial intelligence technologies to automatically generate captions based on the photos and suggest goofy graphics like emoji to adorn people’s selfies.
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It can also attempt to detect a person’s age or figure out which celebrity one most closely resembles, according to the app’s profile on Apple’s online store.
Although it may seem like Microsoft is trying to reach millennials and teenagers with a possible competitor to the popular Snapchat app, Sprinkles is more likely an attempt by Microsoft to obtain more user data. If more people take pictures of themselves, Microsoft’s various machine-learning algorithms can feed on the information and learn to produce more compelling captions and improve in their ability to detect a person’s age.
As former Baidu chief scientist Andrew Ng told Fortune in the summer, companies like Baidu routinely release apps to the public for the sole purpose of gaining user data. Businesses can then train their vast computer networks on the collected data and better their AI technologies.
Microsoft, for example, has been debuting so-called chat bots on various social networks like Twitter and the Kik messaging app in order to make its AI tech more capable of understanding and responding to human language.
Story by FORTUNE