But before this troubling 21st century invention is inevitably turned against us, some of us are having a little fun with it. Case in point: The Google Arts and Culture app, which now sits atop download charts because of a function that allows users to find their doppelgangers in the collections of the world's great art museums.
Predictably, many have been using the Google app to find art historical doppelgangers for their favorite celebrities, from Jared Leto to Jennifer Lopez - sometimes with a little Photoshop trickery. It pulls from Google's digital collection of artworks from museums around the world. For now, Google has launched the feature in the US only, but users from other countries are already enjoying the new feature using the VPN service.
The app launched November 30, 2015, as a way to offer virtual tours of over 1,000 museums, and comes with a companion website that offers museum tours ("go inside the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao", in Spain, ) and contemporary pitches on art education-"Ten things you didn't know about Vincent Van Gogh".
Explaining why the app is not available outside the app, a Google spokesperson told The Sun, "This is an experiment that's only available in parts of the USA right now, but we're glad people are having so much fun matching their selfies to works of art". Here are some steps to follow. So much so that it became the most downloaded free app on the Apple App Store in the U.S., according to app analytics tracker App Annie.
Google Ben Gilbert
As USA Today reports, Twitter is absolutely blowing up with people posting pictures of themselves and the paintings that they were matched with when using the app. What gives? According to TechCrunch, the selfie-feature is still experimental and is blocked in certain regions-including ours. Once it's installed, fire it up and scroll down until you see "Is your portrait in a museum?" Tap "get started", and you'll be guided through the process.
Google says that in the order to match the selfie with portraits from museums, the photo taken is sent to its servers to find comparable artworks. "Google is not using these selfies for anything other than art matches", spokesman Patrick Lenihan said. There are also some app permissions users will need to allow, like access to camera, location and storage.
One asterisk on the app is that it's not available in all areas, as a Google Spokesperson told SFGate that the app is limited to the United States, minus IL and Texas.
I opened the menu on the left, which is full of stuff but doesn't have a "take selfie" option. Google says it will delete the image after the match is complete.