Art Appreciation 3.0: Google Arts & Culture Selfies and AI
Were your social media feeds recently flooded with selfies of your friends and contacts, matching themselves to Vincent Van Goh or Frida Kahlo or other portraits found in museum collections around the world? If you didn’t catch on to what was happening, the #GoogleArts app gave a new twist to the world trending #MuseumSelfie Day.
Museum Selfie Day is a social media campaign that’s been around for a few years. It’s a way to encourage people to visit museums and snap a photo of themselves in front of their favorite collections. Someone at Google came up with an imaginative way to latch onto this trend and promote Google Arts & Culture by leveraging artificial intelligence to enable people to discover their painted doppelganger.
Trend hijacking is a strategy that companies can use to build awareness. The Google Arts & Culture website and apps launched several years ago is an interesting endeavor that many overlook. The site hosts more than 6,000 art and artifacts exhibitions from more than 1,500 museum partners from 70 countries. Some of us love it, and some of us share the viewpoint of the guy who wrote on Twitter, “it’s just art and stuff.”
In this instance, the #GoogleArts new selfie feature and Google’s use of AI—along with some savy trend-jacking—made Google Arts and Culture go viral. When you take a selfie, Google uses computer vision technology to find artworks that look like you, and then the app generates a side-by-side comparison between your selfie and the artwork, along with a percentage of how similar the two pictures are to each other. Google says people have taken more than 30 million selfies. Google states that data from your photo is not used for anything else and is only retained for the time it takes to search for matches.