2018 Best of Digital/Integrated No. 10: Google's Face-Matching App Pairs You With Your Artsy Doppelganger

'Is Your Portrait in a Musem?' Tool Has Sent Arts & Culture App to the Top of the Download Charts

Published On
Jan 17, 2018

Editor's Pick

Through New Year’s on Creativity, we’ll be counting down the best work and ideas of the year in various categories: TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Out of Home/Design and Digital/Integrated.

At No.10 in Digital/Integrated, Google “elevated” the art of the selfie with this tool in its Arts & Culture app that matches your face with countenances from classic and modern art. When it debuted in January, it sent the app to the top of Apple download charts and our social feeds became flooded with friends’ painterly doppelgangers (we also couldn’t stop playing with it ourselves). We tried it again recently, and it’s still plenty of fun--and it seems even more mugs have been added to the mix.

Original Story:

A tool released by Google that matches users' faces to faces in famous paintings has been going viral this week--but, due to data privacy issues, not everyone can use it.

Google's Arts & Culture app added the "Art Selfie" tool last week under the title "Is your portrait in a musem?" and since then, the free app has shot to the top of both the IOS and Android download charts. The premise is simple--you simply upload a selfie and the app wil find the painting in its database that resembles your face most (see Creativity's web producer, Chen Wu, matched in the image here).

However, the feature is only available in the U.S., and even there, not in certain states. According to the Chicago Tribune, while Google won't confirm why, it's likely because states like Illinois and Texas have stricter laws on biometrics. U.K. users can't access the tool either, most likely due to similar issues.

However, Google has reassured people that it isn't using their data for nefarious purposes. "When you take a photo with this feature, your photo is sent to Google to find artworks that look like you," a message reads. "Google won't use data from your photo for any other purpose and will only store your photo for the time it takes to search for matches."

The selfies are all over social media, but not everyone believes it works -- as this article by National Portrait Gallery director Kim Sajet reveals.


Jan 17, 2018
Client :
Google Arts & Culture
Client :
Google Arts & Culture

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