What's new in Computer Vision

Learn what's new in the service. These items may be release notes, videos, blog posts, and other types of information. Bookmark this page to stay up to date with new features, enhancements, fixes, and documentation updates.

October 2022

Computer Vision Image Analysis 4.0 public preview

Image Analysis 4.0 has been released in public preview. The new API includes image captioning, image tagging, object detection, smart crops, people detection, and Read OCR functionality, all available through one Analyze Image operation. The OCR is optimized for general, non-document images in a performance-enhanced synchronous API that makes it easier to embed OCR-powered experiences in your workflows.

September 2022

Computer Vision 3.0/3.1 Read previews deprecation

The preview versions of the Computer Vision 3.0 and 3.1 Read API are scheduled to be retired on January 31, 2023. Customers are encouraged to refer to the How-To and QuickStarts to get started with the generally available (GA) version of the Read API instead. The latest GA versions provide the following benefits:

  • 2022 latest generally available OCR model
  • Significant expansion of OCR language coverage including support for handwritten text
  • Significantly improved OCR quality

June 2022

Vision Studio launch

Vision Studio is UI tool that lets you explore, build, and integrate features from Azure Cognitive Services for Vision into your applications.

Vision Studio provides you with a platform to try several service features, and see what they return in a visual manner. Using the Studio, you can get started without needing to write code, and then use the available client libraries and REST APIs in your application.

Responsible AI for Face

Face transparency documentation

  • The transparency documentation provides guidance to assist our customers to improve the accuracy and fairness of their systems by incorporating meaningful human review to detect and resolve cases of misidentification or other failures, providing support to people who believe their results were incorrect, and identifying and addressing fluctuations in accuracy due to variations in operational conditions.

Retirement of sensitive attributes

  • We have retired facial analysis capabilities that purport to infer emotional states and identity attributes, such as gender, age, smile, facial hair, hair and makeup.
  • Facial detection capabilities, (including detecting blur, exposure, glasses, headpose, landmarks, noise, occlusion, facial bounding box) will remain generally available and do not require an application.

Fairlearn package and Microsoft's Fairness Dashboard

Limited Access policy

  • As a part of aligning Face to the updated Responsible AI Standard, a new Limited Access policy has been implemented for the Face API and Computer Vision. Existing customers have one year to apply and receive approval for continued access to the facial recognition services based on their provided use cases. See details on Limited Access for Face here and for Computer Vision here.

Computer Vision 3.2-preview deprecation

The preview versions of the 3.2 API are scheduled to be retired in December of 2022. Customers are encouraged to use the generally available (GA) version of the API instead. Mind the following changes when migrating from the 3.2-preview versions:

  1. The Analyze Image and Read API calls now take an optional model-version parameter that you can use to specify which AI model to use. By default, they will use the latest model.
  2. The Analyze Image and Read API calls also return a model-version field in successful API responses. This field reports which model was used.
  3. Image Analysis APIs now use a different error-reporting format. See the API reference documentation to learn how to adjust any error-handling code.

May 2022

OCR (Read) API model is generally available (GA)

Computer Vision's OCR (Read) API latest model with 164 supported languages is now generally available as a cloud service and container.

  • OCR support for print text expands to 164 languages including Russian, Arabic, Hindi and other languages using Cyrillic, Arabic, and Devanagari scripts.
  • OCR support for handwritten text expands to 9 languages with English, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.
  • Enhanced support for single characters, handwritten dates, amounts, names, other entities commonly found in receipts and invoices.
  • Improved processing of digital PDF documents.
  • Input file size limit increased 10x to 500 MB.
  • Performance and latency improvements.
  • Available as cloud service and Docker container.

See the OCR how-to guide to learn how to use the GA model.

February 2022

OCR (Read) API Public Preview supports 164 languages

Computer Vision's OCR (Read) API expands supported languages to 164 with its latest preview:

  • OCR support for print text expands to 42 new languages including Arabic, Hindi and other languages using Arabic and Devanagari scripts.
  • OCR support for handwritten text expands to Japanese and Korean in addition to English, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
  • Enhancements including better support for extracting handwritten dates, amounts, names, and single character boxes.
  • General performance and AI quality improvements

See the OCR how-to guide to learn how to use the new preview features.

New Quality Attribute in Detection_01 and Detection_03

  • To help system builders and their customers capture high quality images which are necessary for high quality outputs from Face API, we’re introducing a new quality attribute QualityForRecognition to help decide whether an image is of sufficient quality to attempt face recognition. The value is an informal rating of low, medium, or high. The new attribute is only available when using any combinations of detection models detection_01 or detection_03, and recognition models recognition_03 or recognition_04. Only "high" quality images are recommended for person enrollment and quality above "medium" is recommended for identification scenarios. To learn more about the new quality attribute, see Face detection and attributes and see how to use it with QuickStart.

September 2021

OCR (Read) API Public Preview supports 122 languages

Computer Vision's OCR (Read) API expands supported languages to 122 with its latest preview:

  • OCR support for print text in 49 new languages including Russian, Bulgarian, and other Cyrillic and more Latin languages.
  • OCR support for handwritten text in 6 new languages that include English, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
  • Enhancements for processing digital PDFs and Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) text in identity documents.
  • General performance and AI quality improvements

See the OCR how-to guide to learn how to use the new preview features.

August 2021

Image tagging language expansion

The latest version (v3.2) of the Image tagger now supports tags in 50 languages. See the language support page for more information.

July 2021

New HeadPose and Landmarks improvements for Detection_03

  • The Detection_03 model has been updated to support facial landmarks.
  • The landmarks feature in Detection_03 is much more precise, especially in the eyeball landmarks which are crucial for gaze tracking.

May 2021

Spatial Analysis container update

A new version of the Spatial Analysis container has been released with a new feature set. This Docker container lets you analyze real-time streaming video to understand spatial relationships between people and their movement through physical environments.

  • Spatial Analysis operations can be now configured to detect the orientation that a person is facing.

    • An orientation classifier can be enabled for the personcrossingline and personcrossingpolygon operations by configuring the enable_orientation parameter. It is set to off by default.
  • Spatial Analysis operations now also offers configuration to detect a person's speed while walking/running

    • Speed can be detected for the personcrossingline and personcrossingpolygon operations by turning on the enable_speed classifier, which is off by default. The output is reflected in the speed, avgSpeed, and minSpeed outputs.

April 2021

Computer Vision v3.2 GA

The Computer Vision API v3.2 is now generally available with the following updates:

  • Improved image tagging model: analyzes visual content and generates relevant tags based on objects, actions, and content displayed in the image. This model is available through the Tag Image API. See the Image Analysis how-to guide and overview to learn more.
  • Updated content moderation model: detects presence of adult content and provides flags to filter images containing adult, racy, and gory visual content. This model is available through the Analyze API. See the Image Analysis how-to guide and overview to learn more.
  • OCR (Read) available for 73 languages including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Latin languages.
  • OCR (Read) also available as a Distroless container for on-premises deployment.

PersonDirectory data structure (preview)

  • In order to perform face recognition operations such as Identify and Find Similar, Face API customers need to create an assorted list of Person objects. The new PersonDirectory is a data structure that contains unique IDs, optional name strings, and optional user metadata strings for each Person identity added to the directory. Currently, the Face API offers the LargePersonGroup structure which has similar functionality but is limited to 1 million identities. The PersonDirectory structure can scale up to 75 million identities.
  • Another major difference between PersonDirectory and previous data structures is that you'll no longer need to make any Train calls after adding faces to a Person object—the update process happens automatically. For more details see Use the PersonDirectory structure.

March 2021

Computer Vision 3.2 Public Preview update

The Computer Vision API v3.2 public preview has been updated. The preview release has all Computer Vision features along with updated Read and Analyze APIs.

February 2021

Read API v3.2 Public Preview with OCR support for 73 languages

The Computer Vision Read API v3.2 public preview, available as cloud service and Docker container, includes these updates:

  • OCR for 73 languages including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Latin languages.
  • Natural reading order for the text line output (Latin languages only)
  • Handwriting style classification for text lines along with a confidence score (Latin languages only).
  • Extract text only for selected pages for a multi-page document.
  • Available as a Distroless container for on-premises deployment.

See the Read API how-to guide to learn more.

New Face API detection model

  • The new Detection 03 model is the most accurate detection model currently available. If you're a new customer, we recommend using this model. Detection 03 improves both recall and precision on smaller faces found within images (64x64 pixels). Additional improvements include an overall reduction in false positives and improved detection on rotated face orientations. Combining Detection 03 with the new Recognition 04 model will provide improved recognition accuracy as well. See Specify a face detection model for more details.

New detectable Face attributes

  • The faceMask attribute is available with the latest Detection 03 model, along with the additional attribute "noseAndMouthCovered" which detects whether the face mask is worn as intended, covering both the nose and mouth. To use the latest mask detection capability, users need to specify the detection model in the API request: assign the model version with the detectionModel parameter to detection_03. See Specify a face detection model for more details.

New Face API Recognition Model

  • The new Recognition 04 model is the most accurate recognition model currently available. If you're a new customer, we recommend using this model for verification and identification. It improves upon the accuracy of Recognition 03, including improved recognition for users wearing face covers (surgical masks, N95 masks, cloth masks). Note that we recommend against enrolling images of users wearing face covers as this will lower recognition quality. Now customers can build safe and seamless user experiences that detect whether a user is wearing a face cover with the latest Detection 03 model, and recognize them with the latest Recognition 04 model. See Specify a face recognition model for more details.

January 2021

Spatial Analysis container update

A new version of the Spatial Analysis container has been released with a new feature set. This Docker container lets you analyze real-time streaming video to understand spatial relationships between people and their movement through physical environments.

  • Spatial Analysis operations can be now configured to detect if a person is wearing a protective face covering such as a mask.
    • A mask classifier can be enabled for the personcount, personcrossingline and personcrossingpolygon operations by configuring the ENABLE_FACE_MASK_CLASSIFIER parameter.
    • The attributes face_mask and face_noMask will be returned as metadata with confidence score for each person detected in the video stream
  • The personcrossingpolygon operation has been extended to allow the calculation of the dwell time a person spends in a zone. You can set the type parameter in the Zone configuration for the operation to zonedwelltime and a new event of type personZoneDwellTimeEvent will include the durationMs field populated with the number of milliseconds that the person spent in the zone.
  • Breaking change: The personZoneEvent event has been renamed to personZoneEnterExitEvent. This event is raised by the personcrossingpolygon operation when a person enters or exits the zone and provides directional info with the numbered side of the zone that was crossed.
  • Video URL can be provided as "Private Parameter/obfuscated" in all operations. Obfuscation is optional now and it will only work if KEY and IV are provided as environment variables.
  • Calibration is enabled by default for all operations. Set the do_calibration: false to disable it.
  • Added support for auto recalibration (by default disabled) via the enable_recalibration parameter, please refer to Spatial Analysis operations for details
  • Camera calibration parameters to the DETECTOR_NODE_CONFIG. Refer to Spatial Analysis operations for details.

Mitigate latency

December 2020

Customer configuration for Face ID storage

  • While the Face Service does not store customer images, the extracted face feature(s) will be stored on server. The Face ID is an identifier of the face feature and will be used in Face - Identify, Face - Verify, and Face - Find Similar. The stored face features will expire and be deleted 24 hours after the original detection call. Customers can now determine the length of time these Face IDs are cached. The maximum value is still up to 24 hours, but a minimum value of 60 seconds can now be set. The new time ranges for Face IDs being cached is any value between 60 seconds and 24 hours. More details can be found in the Face - Detect API reference (the faceIdTimeToLive parameter).

November 2020

Sample Face enrollment app

  • The team published a sample Face enrollment app to demonstrate best practices for establishing meaningful consent and creating high-accuracy face recognition systems through high-quality enrollments. The open-source sample can be found in the Build an enrollment app guide and on GitHub, ready for developers to deploy or customize.

October 2020

Computer Vision API v3.1 GA

The Computer Vision API in General Availability has been upgraded to v3.1.

September 2020

Spatial Analysis container preview

The Spatial Analysis container is now in preview. The Spatial Analysis feature of Computer Vision lets you analyze real-time streaming video to understand spatial relationships between people and their movement through physical environments. Spatial Analysis is a Docker container you can use on-premises.

Read API v3.1 Public Preview adds OCR for Japanese

The Computer Vision Read API v3.1 public preview adds these capabilities:

  • OCR for Japanese language

  • For each text line, indicate whether the appearance is Handwriting or Print style, along with a confidence score (Latin languages only).

  • For a multi-page document extract text only for selected pages or page range.

  • This preview version of the Read API supports English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish languages.

See the Read API how-to guide to learn more.

August 2020

Customer-managed encryption of data at rest

  • The Face service automatically encrypts your data when persisting it to the cloud. The Face service encryption protects your data to help you meet your organizational security and compliance commitments. By default, your subscription uses Microsoft-managed encryption keys. There is also a new option to manage your subscription with your own keys called customer-managed keys (CMK). More details can be found at Customer-managed keys.

July 2020

Read API v3.1 Public Preview with OCR for Simplified Chinese

The Computer Vision Read API v3.1 public preview adds support for Simplified Chinese.

  • This preview version of the Read API supports English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish languages.

See the Read API how-to guide to learn more.

May 2020

Computer Vision API v3.0 entered General Availability, with updates to the Read API:

  • Support for English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish
  • Improved accuracy
  • Confidence score for each extracted word
  • New output format

See the OCR overview to learn more.

April 2020

New Face API Recognition Model

  • The new recognition 03 model is the most accurate model currently available. If you're a new customer, we recommend using this model. Recognition 03 will provide improved accuracy for both similarity comparisons and person-matching comparisons. More details can be found at Specify a face recognition model.

March 2020

January 2020

Read API 3.0 Public Preview

You now can use version 3.0 of the Read API to extract printed or handwritten text from images. Compared to earlier versions, 3.0 provides:

  • Improved accuracy
  • New output format
  • Confidence score for each extracted word
  • Support for both Spanish and English languages with the language parameter

Follow an Extract text quickstart to get starting using the 3.0 API.

June 2019

New Face API detection model

April 2019

Improved attribute accuracy

  • Improved overall accuracy of the age and headPose attributes. The headPose attribute is also updated with the pitch value enabled now. Use these attributes by specifying them in the returnFaceAttributes parameter of Face - Detect returnFaceAttributes parameter.

Improved processing speeds

March 2019

New Face API recognition model

January 2019

Face Snapshot feature

October 2018

API messages

May 2018

Improved attribute accuracy

  • Improved gender attribute significantly and also improved age, glasses, facialHair, hair, makeup attributes. Use them through Face - Detect returnFaceAttributes parameter.

Increased file size limit

March 2018

New data structure

May 2017

New detectable Face attributes

  • Added hair, makeup, accessory, occlusion, blur, exposure, and noise attributes in Face - Detect returnFaceAttributes parameter.
  • Supported 10K persons in a PersonGroup and Face - Identify.
  • Supported pagination in PersonGroup Person - List with optional parameters: start and top.
  • Supported concurrency in adding/deleting faces against different FaceLists and different persons in PersonGroup.

March 2017

New detectable Face attribute

  • Added emotion attribute in Face - Detect returnFaceAttributes parameter.

Fixed issues

November 2016

New subscription tier

  • Added Face Storage Standard subscription to store additional persisted faces when using PersonGroup Person - Add Face or FaceList - Add Face for identification or similarity matching. The stored images are charged at $0.5 per 1000 faces and this rate is prorated on a daily basis. Free tier subscriptions continue to be limited to 1,000 total persons.

October 2016

API messages

July 2016

New features

  • Supported Face to Person object authentication in Face - Verify.
  • Added optional mode parameter enabling selection of two working modes: matchPerson and matchFace in Face - Find Similar and default is matchPerson.
  • Added optional confidenceThreshold parameter for user to set the threshold of whether one face belongs to a Person object in Face - Identify.
  • Added optional start and top parameters in PersonGroup - List to enable user to specify the start point and the total PersonGroups number to list.

V1.0 changes from V0

  • Updated service root endpoint from https://westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com/face/v0/ to https://westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com/face/v1.0/. Changes applied to: Face - Detect, Face - Identify, Face - Find Similar and Face - Group.
  • Updated the minimal detectable face size to 36x36 pixels. Faces smaller than 36x36 pixels will not be detected.
  • Deprecated the PersonGroup and Person data in Face V0. Those data cannot be accessed with the Face V1.0 service.
  • Deprecated the V0 endpoint of Face API on June 30, 2016.

Cognitive Service updates

Azure update announcements for Cognitive Services