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Google’s Art Filter Turns Selfies into Classic Art

While facial recognition technology has been taking off in numerous, frightening ways recently, the controversial tool is still great for a lot of laughs. Google, for example, offers at least a few good giggles with the latest update for its Arts & Culture app, which uses the tech to generate filters that allow people to blend their faces into classic portraits. And even though the filters aren’t exceptionally accurate, they’re still hilarious.

The search giant recently released the Arts & Culture app update, which it refers to simply as Art Filter. In a press release, the company says the update includes five “educational and fun” 3-D modeled augmented reality (AR) filters based on iconic paintings and accessories. With the Filter, users can create Van Gogh or Frida Kahlo-style self-portraits. And, for Vermeer lovers, a personalized version of the painter’s masterpiece, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

We downloaded the update, and found the filter blending users into Vermeer’s classic painting to be the most entertaining. The Van Gogh filter is fun as well, although it doesn’t seem like it provides enough variation between faces. And as far as the jewelry filters, we imagine they’d be fun for anyone into Ancient Egyptian and Samurai cultures.

Google's new Art Filter app update lets users blend their faces into classic paintings.

Google 

Google says Art Filter utilizes machine learning-based image processing for the filters. This type of AR feature requires “a sophisticated anchoring of the virtual content” to the real world. With this approach, Google says the artifacts—the jewelry and portrait elements—are able to position themselves smoothly.

In terms of the inevitable privacy questions, Google says the app update runs completely on users’ devices. Although the company does store Art Filter images on its servers if users save them or share them. And because it seems like that it’ll happen a lot, we can only assume that both Art Filter—and any other Google facial recognition tech—will continue to improve rapidly.

Google's new Art Filter app update lets users blend their faces into classic paintings.

Google 

Feature image: Google