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​Video beautification app Looksery reaches Android too

The video effects app, which can make faces look better, funnier or weirder, should grow in usage now that it supports the second major mobile operating system.

Looksery analyzes faces and applies special effects to video.
Looksery analyzes faces and applies special effects to video. Looksery

It's Android time for Looksery, maker of a special-effects video app that does everything from beautify faces to give them X-ray skulls and lipstick kisses.

The company got its start last year with a version of its app for Apple's mobile operating system. That iOS app now has 2 million users, according to Chief Executive Victor Shaburov, and Looksery is optimistic that the new version, released Tuesday for Google's Android mobile OS, will bring more people to the app.

"We should grow twice as fast, maybe three times faster," Shaburov predicted. The Android app runs on most phones released in the last 2 years, he said. An accompanying update for the iOS version also extends support back to the iPhone 4S.

The Looksery app shows how rapidly things are changing in the world of image processing. In the predigital era, retouching photographs was a laborious process. Photoshop made it faster. Now Looksery's app can alter reality immediately, on a phone, and with video not just still photos.

That means altered reality -- whether subtle or overt -- is now an option for people who might want to show themselves in a different light.

"People are not always ready to take a call," Shaburov said. A woman woken up by a call from her boyfriend might not want to take the call, for example. "With our app, with one button click, she can put the makeup on or put a funny avatar on."

The company's technology works by analyzing facial structures, tracking them and adding special effects that can follow facial movements. Video clips can be sent via text message, Instagram or other sharing mechanisms, but later this year Looksery plans to add real-time video chat to its app, Shaburov said.

The app is free, but if the company gets enough users -- 100 million or so, which could happen this year, it'll consider making money off the app by selling premium avatars.

In the meantime, the company's main revenue source is from licensing the technology to others. "Right now we generate about $1 million per month in licensing fees," Shaburov said.