Apps that involve uploading one’s face, getting feedback and sharing the results aren’t always a great idea. But the latest iteration of the Google Arts & Culture app, which promises to scour more than 1,200 museums in over 70 countries to find one’s art doppelganger, has become a viral hit.
Though the Google Arts & Culture app has been available since 2016, the find-your-art-lookalike feature was released with its latest update in mid-December. (“Take a selfie and discover if your portrait is in a museum,” the release notes read, before also promising the usual “bug fixes and minor improvements.”)
Google spokesman Patrick Lenihan told The Washington Post that the feature was an idea someone had last year and was incorporated into the app with little fanfare. Its popularity has been completely organic, he added.
“We’re always trying to figure out cool and interesting ways to get people talking about art, and this was one of them,” Lenihan said.
In recent days, scores of people — including plenty of celebrities — have shared their often hilarious results on social media, helping Google Arts & Culture climb the App Store’s charts to become the most downloaded free app.
Quite a few were pleased with their matches. According to the app, comedian Kumail Nanjiani was a 59 percent match with a mixed-media portrait of Mohammed Al Mazrouie at the Barjeel Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates.
“Hey this one ain’t so bad,” Nanjiani tweeted.
— Gil McKinney (@GilMcKinney) January 14, 2018
Musician Pete Wentz and actress Felicia Day seemed generally satisfied about their results.
“Feel real strong about my 40%,” Wentz tweeted of a match that paired him with a self-portrait of Rembrandt.
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
But the app has delivered matches that had some wondering whether it was intentionally trolling them. As Mashable’s Brian Koerber discovered, uploading different selfies (“the less flattering the photo, the better”) often resulted in different, equally amusing results.
— TheStay@HomeHannah (@hannahrose253) January 14, 2018
— Jonathan Bing (@ThingofBing) January 14, 2018
— Hilary Gray (@HilaryLGray) January 13, 2018
— Ronald Salguero (@McRonalds1) January 14, 2018
And, lest you run out of faces to make, the app doesn’t just deliver results for humans.