If you’ve seen a lot of people suddenly sharing uncannily similar artistic doppelgängers of themselves recently, Google’s facial recognition abilities and massive database of art are to blame. The tech giant recently recently added a new feature to its Arts and Culture app which allows users to snap a photo and instantaneously get a list of portraits they resemble, and it’s pretty good.
AU Editor note: Unfortunately this function is region locked. Yes, really! If you find a way around this, let us know in the comments below.
This is addictive. Google Arts and Culture app will tell you which museum painting looks most like you. Please call me Manuel from now on. pic.twitter.com/8LKG8bRkO2
— David Wade (@davidwade) January 14, 2018
If you haven’t used it yet, the process is pretty simple: Download the app, scroll down to the “Is your portrait in a museum?” section, take a photo of your face, and Google will determine which work of art you most resemble. While the UI is about as simple as could be, under the hood Google is using a sophisticated facial recognition system to map users’ facial features, which necessitates editing the photos and reorienting them to ensure a clear view. Google then compares those maps with similar ones it’s constructed from portraits in the 70,000-plus works of art in its Google Art Project database.
Results vary, but in general, Google Arts and Culture is very good at generating works of art that look like users – including when they try to trick it with makeup or headgear. Here’s a sampling of its pairings:
Torn between which one I think is better likeness with the Google Arts and Culture app. pic.twitter.com/uSw8RmOip8
— Felicia Day (@feliciaday) January 13, 2018
This google arts and culture app is pretty amazing. Feel real strong about my 40% ???? pic.twitter.com/2iyexRkUG5
— pw (@petewentz) January 14, 2018
Hey good morning everyone, this Google Arts and Culture app is scary. pic.twitter.com/yt2kSYMWyM
— Ding Dong Daddi (@sixthsentz) January 13, 2018
— Danil Chernyy (@DanilCh) January 13, 2018
the google arts and culture app thing is really cute lol comparing myself to old paintings has always been a secret mood booster ngl pic.twitter.com/x2tuY5DTB1
— ❄???? Kiana Bee ????❄ @ALA (@2kb33) January 13, 2018
everyone: ur not asian ur white
google arts and culture app: pic.twitter.com/7rPzvBMaCs
— JONBOKU (@jeunglebok) January 13, 2018
#2 because it's funnier, Haha. I got a fancy boy pic.twitter.com/XNjPRIszTd
— The4LIST (@the4list) January 13, 2018
Sometimes the results are, ah, unexpected, yet pretty accurate? Here’s a sampling of users who probably didn’t get the results they sought:
Just got owned by Google Arts and Culture app. pic.twitter.com/RTQCPQ3AR1
— Adam The Greatest C.P.A. Morris (@aimorris) January 13, 2018
GO HOME, GOOGLE ARTS AND CULTURE APP, YOU’RE DRUNK pic.twitter.com/rhbHBLOb1h
— kim windyka (@kimlw) January 13, 2018
google arts and culture app truly believes i am. prince ferenc. pic.twitter.com/7og8esJQyy
— vero ????️???? (@cIassicdog) January 13, 2018
Honestly fuuuuuuuck google arts and culture pic.twitter.com/8W4gLO48PJ
— Linz (@LinzElah) January 14, 2018
Your mileage may vary. I kept on getting Sebastiano del Piombo’s 1525 portrait of Florentine politician Anton Francesco degli Albizzi (1486 — 1537), who the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston writes was described as “overbearing, haughty, and restless and was beheaded for treason by Cosimo I de’ Medici, grand duke of Tuscany.” I don’t really look like the guy, but at least the description sounds about right.
The Arts and Culture app is available on the Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Google claims that it doesn’t store any of the photos uploaded for the purposes of this feature longer than it takes to process them for comparisons, but by using it, keep in mind you’re essentially consenting to contribute to the company’s facial-recognition tech.