PSA: Google’s art selfie feature is US only for now

Google’s Arts & Culture app has been around for about a year and half. But it’s taken an art selfie feature to generate a bit of viral interest in the app — with a steady stream of delighted/outraged tweets bubbling up over the weekend as users assessed the results of their fine art doppelgänger. Oh what price vanity, etc etc…

While complaints about the app’s matches included not being offered any matches (with some putting this down to the Eurocentrism of art history), or being facially matched with an artwork of a different gender or age, the most outraged Twitter chatter was on account of people not being able to access the feature at all.

We understand that’s because it’s still experimental and has been region-blocked — specifically it’s limited to the US right now.

Judging by reports from some US Twitter users, it’s not even universally available within the US either. Google declined to comment when we asked about its rollout intentions for the feature. So if you’re really desperate to try it out then you could try signing up to a (reputable) VPN with a US exit node to workaround the region-block.

Or else you could just enjoy the rest of the app’s features — such as virtual art tours, info about nearby museums and cultural events, and an art recognizer feature that uses computer vision so you can point your phone at an artwork and be served tidbits of info about it.

Alternative apps for turning your selfies into faux works of art are also available.

Published at Mon, 15 Jan 2018 12:04:10 +0000