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This article was published on January 15, 2018

Google’s Arts & Culture app only offers art-matching selfie feature to a select few

Google’s Arts & Culture app only offers art-matching selfie feature to a select few
Rachel Kaser
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Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

If you’re interested in the recent update to Google’s Arts and Culture app, which uses machine learning to match your selfie to a lookalike in an extensive library of classic art, you’d better hope you’re in the right place.

Though the update is several weeks old by this point, it finally seeped into public view by way of several tweets from celebrities who showed their artistic doppelgangers.

Judging by the reviews, these tweets and the ensuing furor drew a flood of curious users — it’s currently the top free app in the App Store. Unfortunately, those same reviewers tried to use the app, only to find they couldn’t.

The app’s selfie feature is region-locked, only available in “select locations.” I’d love to be able to tell you my selfie matches Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych, but unfortunately I can’t access the selfie feature — and I’m far from alone.

The way it’s supposed to work (and will work for those of you who are in the right area) is that you open the app, scroll down the main page past the news until you get to a section titled “Is Your Portrait in a Museum?” From there you click “Get Started,” and get started. It’s pretty simple, but endlessly frustrating if it’s not there and you’re aimlessly scrolling through the app looking for it.

If you’ve already downloaded the app, you’ll find a series of decent articles on art, museums, and history. Still, it seems a little hypocritical for an app designed to bring culture to the world to keep one of its niftiest educational tools only for a few users.

We’ve contact Google to find out when, if ever, this feature is coming to the rest of the world.

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