Google’s selfie function within the Arts and Tradition app (Photograph: Google)

LOS ANGELES — The Google Arts and Tradition app is over two years previous, nevertheless it’s abruptly taken the smartphone world by storm, because of the invention of a quietly added replace — a selfie function. 

Google’s app, considered one of many from the web big, is designed to introduce the world to fantastic artwork, however a function that is not prominently displayed now permits customers to take a selfie, and examine themselves to works of nice artwork. 

That feature went live in mid-December, but took a few weeks to get discovered. Once the selfies began showing up on Twitter and Facebook, the app quickly shot to the top of the app charts over the weekend. It’s currently no. 1 on both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. 

The Google Arts app is available everywhere in the U.S. except for Illinois and Texas. Google wouldn’t comment on when the app will begin showing up in those states and internationally. Google traditionally rolls out new features slowly to specific regions before taking them to all users. 

“Nobody could possibly begin to understand how upset I am,” about the app not being available in Chicago, wrote Catland Bukater on Twitter.

Google wasn’t available for comment due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. 

The app launched Nov. 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.”

“Is your portrait in a museum?” Google asks. “Take a selfie and search thousands of artworks to see if any look like you.”

From there, you take the selfie with your smartphone camera, and see what Google comes up with. For this reporter, the suggested resemblances were to portraits by William Blake Richmond, Alexander Gerasimov and Henry Salem Hubbell. 


The app is free, and similar to Google Photos in that Google’s use of artificial intelligence invites users to search through thousands of images, and have them discovered in seconds. 

Google has several other popular apps in the top 20 of Apple’s iOS store, including YouTube (no. 4), Google Maps (no. 12) and Gmail at no. 19. 


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