Is Your Portrait Stored in Any of World's Top Museums? Ask Google


Google thinks your face is worthy of framing, and wants to show you with a new feature in its Arts & Culture app for Android & iOS.

The new "face map" feature, however, is restricted to the U.S. though it could reportedly be accessed through VPN connections in some European territories like France.

As it turns out, all those photos are from a Google app that's over a year old: It's called the Google Arts & Culture app, and it's free on Google Play and the Apple App Store. However, not everyone is convinced with Google's statement with some believing that it is a sign of the USA becoming a surveillance state.

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.

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"Take a selfie and discover if your portrait is in a museum", the app's description says of its "Is your portrait in a museum?" project. However, do not open the app immediately after downloading. In our case, this did not work with the Opera VPN app, though the Express VPN worked fine.

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. The "selfie matching" feature should appear, provided your VPN is working.

Unfortunately, the app requires you take a selfie in real time, meaning no uploading embarrassing snaps of your friends you've saved on your camera roll for this objective (or, for me, my cats back home in Vermont). Click on Get Started and then select I Accept. The company said it won't use data from photos for any other objective but to match it with images in its catalog. There are also some app permissions users will need to allow, like access to camera, location and storage. It pulls from Google's digital collection of artworks from museums around the world. Google says it will delete the image after the match is complete. The results are not always great, matching around 53 percent or less at times, but they are nearly instantaneous.