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Shingy the Senior Citizen, and Other Things We Learned From Microsoft's How-Old.Net

Tinkering with Microsoft's new age-guessing app.

Paramount Pictures / YouTube

To succeed in Silicon Valley, companies have to bet on what technologies will be vital in the future. And sometimes, the greater public gets a sneak peek at what that tech looks like today.

Sometimes, those previews don’t turn out so well.

Earlier this week, Microsoft invited people to try a website called, which guessed the user’s age and gender.

Some people turned invisible, coffee cups came to life and everyone just unwittingly gave Microsoft the rights to use the photos they uploaded for basically whatever it wants. It’s also worth mentioning that Microsoft’s not the only company messing around with apps like this.

Anyway, here’s how old Microsoft thinks a bunch of luminaries in the tech industry are:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is actually 8 years older and dang, that’s a 5-year-old woman standing behind him.

Robert Scoble / Flickr

David “Shingy” Shing is AOL’s digital prophet. He’s in his mid-40s. Bummer, dude.

Using “brogrammers” as a search term, I found this stock photograph. Microsoft probably got it right here.

alvarez / iStock

Mark Zuckerberg has transcended this terrestrial realm and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington gained about 20 years.

Kevin Krejci / Flickr

I’m 22. This isn’t cool, man.


The back of Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham’s head doesn’t count, and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is really a decade younger. Split decision on this one, Microsoft.

Robert Scoble / Flickr

This is kind of tragic.

Rhonda Oglesby / Flickr

Credit for the featured art at the top goes to Erik Malinowski, who is a very funny and smart Twitter follow.

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