What's the catch with HowOld?

5 May 2015

You may have been having a fun time with Microsoft's new viral sensation - How-Old.net - but as ever, there may well be a catch.

While you're uploading your face to find out how old you look, Microsoft might have been been storing your photos. Now, the front page of the service says: "We don't keep the photo [uploaded to the site]," but the terms of service suggest otherwise.


After the sentence that says that "Microsoft does not claim ownership of any materials you provide," a different passage in the site's terms of service adds:

"However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission."

It is all contradicting each other now. And there's more. In there, it also says that it includes the right for Microsoft to "publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services."

Microsoft have said, in relation to all this, that they do not store or share the pictures: "The terms of service are accurate. Developers get to choose how their apps work. The developers of How-old.net chose not to store or share photos for this app. These terms of services are like those of other companies."

In summary - the application doesn't store your photos, but Microsoft might handle them another way if they want to. If that's the kind of thing that bothers you, you've been warned.


  • Mark F.
    They might not store the photo, but they might scoop up all that metadata hidden in the photo.
  • Kevin
    *sigh* As with any website that involves pictures or other media you HAVE to give them permission to reproduce otherwise how are you suppose to see the results of your age on your picture? If you don't give Facebook permission to share your photo how are your friends supposed to see them? If you don't allow Twitter to share your text then how are your followers going to know what you are doing? If someone in Vietnam who speaks no English wants to read your status update how are they going to do that if Google Translate won't translate it for them? It's a standard piece of T&C's, shown by the use of the name bit, even though there is no way they would know who you are. They know other metadata as Mark says, but that is what the system is for in the first place. That is why they are allowing everyone to use it, so they can learn certain things.

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