What are Azure Cognitive Services?

Azure Cognitive Services are APIs, SDKs, and services available to help developers build intelligent applications without having direct AI or data science skills or knowledge. Azure Cognitive Services enable developers to easily add cognitive features such as emotion and video detection; facial, speech, and vision recognition; and speech and language understanding – into their applications. The goal of Azure Cognitive Services is to help developers create applications that can see, hear, speak, understand, and even begin to reason. The catalog of services within Azure Cognitive Services can be categorized into five main pillars - Vision, Speech, Language, Search, and Knowledge.

Vision APIs

Service Name Service Description
Computer Vision The Computer Vision service provides you with access to advanced algorithms for processing images and returning information.
Custom Vision Service (Preview) The Custom Vision Service allows you to build custom image classifiers.
Content Moderator Content Moderator provides monitoring for possible offensive, undesirable, and risky content.
Face API Face API provides access to advanced face algorithms, enabling face attribute detection and recognition.
Video Indexer Video Indexer enables you to extract insights from your video.

Speech APIs

Service Name Service Description
Speech Service (Preview) Speech Service adds speech-enabled features to applications.
Bing Speech API The Bing Speech API provides you with an easy way to create speech-enabled features in your applications.
Translator Speech Translator Speech is a machine translation service.
Speaker Recognition API (Preview) The Speaker Recognition API provides algorithms for speaker identification and verification.

Language APIs

Service Name Service Description
Bing Spell Check Bing Spell Check allows you to perform contextual grammar and spell checking.
Language Understanding LUIS Language Understanding service (LUIS) allows your application to understand what a person wants in their own words.
Text Analytics Text Analytics provides natural language processing over raw text for sentiment analysis, key phrase extraction and language detection.
Translator Text Translator text provides for machine-based text translation in near real-time.

Search APIs

Service Name Service Description
Bing News Search Bing News Search returns a list of news articles determined to be relevant to the user's query.
Bing Video Search Bing Video Search returns a list of videos determined to be relevant to the user's query.
Bing Web Search Bing Web Search returns a list of search results determined to be relevant to the user's query.
Bing Autosuggest Bing Autosuggest allows you to send a partial search query term to Bing and get back a list of suggested queries.
Bing Custom Search Bing Custom Search allows you to create tailored search experiences for topics that you care about.
Bing Entity Search Bing Entity Search returns information about entities that Bing determines are relevant to a user's query.
Bing Image Search Bing Image Search returns a display of images determined to be relevant to the user's query.
Bing Visual Search Bing Visual Search provides returns insights about an image such as visually similar images, shopping sources for products found in the image, and related searches.
Bing Local Business Search Bing Local Business Search API enables your applications to find contact and location information about local businesses based on search queries.

Knowledge APIs

Service Name Service Description
QnA Maker QnA Maker allows you to build a question and answer service from your semi-structured content.

Use free trials

Signing up for free trials only takes an email and a few simple steps. You need a Microsoft Account if you don't already have one. You'll receive a unique pair of keys for each API requested. The second one is just a spare. Don't share the secret keys with anyone. Trials have both a rate limit, transactions per second or minute, and a monthly usage cap. A transaction is simply an API call. You can upgrade to paid tiers to unlock the restrictions.

Subscription management

Once you are signed in with your Microsoft Account, you can access My subscriptions to show the products you are using, the quota remaining, and the ability to add additional products to your subscription.

Upgrade to unlock limits

All APIs have a free trial plan. As paid offerings become available for each API, you'll be directed to the Azure portal to complete the purchase. You can find Buy links in your Subscriptions page if you're already using them or you can skip trial altogether and purchase with provided links on Pricing. You'll need to set up an Azure subscriber account with a credit card and a phone number. If you have a special requirement or simply want to talk to sales, click "Contact us" button at the top the pricing page.

Regional availability

The APIs in Cognitive Services are hosted on a growing network of Microsoft-managed data centers. You can find the regional availability for each API in Azure region list.

Looking for a region we don't support yet? Let us know by filing a feature request on our UserVoice forum.

Supported cultural languages

Cognitive Services supports a wide range of cultural languages at the service level. You can find the language availability for each API in the supported languages list.

Container support

Cognitive Services provides containers for deployment in the Azure cloud or on-premises. Learn more about Cognitive Services Containers.

Certifications and compliance

Cognitive Services has been awarded certifications such as CSA STAR Certification, FedRAMP Moderate, and HIPAA BAA.

You can download certifications for your own audits and security reviews.

To understand privacy and data management, go to the Trust Center.


Next steps