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Maybelline Video Filters for Teams Meetings
I don’t quite know what to make of Microsoft’s July 19 post about their collaboration with Mayelline of New York to launch the Maybelline Beauty app for Teams. After all, it wasn’t April 1, so the announcement seemed to be serious and Microsoft says that they are rolling the app out to their enterprise customers worldwide. Could it have been an attempt to distract people from the clouds around the $30/user/month price Microsoft revealed for Microsoft 365 Copilot?
But no, it’s a Teams app that can be loaded into Teams meetings to embellish the appearance of meeting participants, much like the brightness and soft-focus filters or more accurately, the Snapchat lenses added to Teams meetings in April 2023. It’s all about creating a better image of who you really are without going the whole hog and using a mesh avatar.
Believe it or not, I have some history in this area. In 2007, I worked in Palo Alto at the world-famous HP Labs facility on Page Mill Road. A project worked on helping people choose the most appropriate combination of facial cosmetics using a HP iPAQ handheld computer and some software from a well-known cosmetics brand. The idea was that you could use the iPAQ camera to capture your face and then process the image to calculate the exact shade of lipstick, face powder or whatever to apply. Unhappily, the project went nowhere.
Allowing Access to the Maybelline App
In any case, to use the Maybelline video filters in Teams meetings, you’ll need to allow access to the app. My org-wide app settings do not automatically publish new third-party apps to the Team app store, so I needed to unblock the Maybelline app by finding and unblocking the app in the Teams admin center (Figure 1).
Using the Maybelline Video Filters in Teams Meetings
It can take a few hours for the Maybelline app to become available for meetings. When it is available, you’ll see the Maybelline filters in the set of available filters in the meeting pre-join screen (Figure 2) along with the video frames and styles from Microsoft and the set of Snapchat lenses. The same filters are available for selection during a meeting, but having them available beforehand means that a participant’s video feed looks its best from when they join a call.
Like other third-party video filter effects packages delivered to Teams meeting participants, the user must grant consent to the app to allow it to modify their video feed.
Not being an expert in Maybelline technology, I didn’t really know what filter to choose from. According to Microsoft, the app “provides users with 12 unique looks.” Names like “Blur,” “Glowy,” “Iconic,” and “Natural” all seemed promising but didn’t seem to do much when applied. Truthfully, it would take more than a filter to make my appearance any better than the original (the Teams soft-focus filter is the best so far).
Figure 3 shows what happened to my video feed with the Red filter applied. My lips are a rather startling shade of red while a second set of eyebrows seems to be present.
In their post, Microsoft says that the app “uses AI-powered functionality” that “identifies over 70 points of the user’s face to create a “virtual map” that enables the seamless application of the digital filters.” In other words, the app processes the video feed from the camera to create a map of the face and apply the filter, which is how I ended up with nice red lips. Obviously, I am not the target market for this technology and am therefore a poor model.
The Maybelline app only works for the Teams classic client. It isn’t available in the preview of the Teams 2.1 client.
Block the Maybelline Video Filters If You Wish
It’s hard to know what to make of an app like the Maybelline filters. Administrators can block the app. Even if it’s available, you don’t have to use the app and can ignore it if you want to. I guess some would ask if Microsoft should dedicate resources to what seems like an unwanted bauble. Others argue that it’s all part of building out an ecosystem. Microsoft says that they welcome your feedback on this point, even if they included a link to the old UserVoice-based feedback portal (aka.ms/TeamFeedback) instead of the new Teams feedback portal. Someone should go and change that aka.ms shortcut.
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