Google app uses machine learning to discover your pet’s look in 10,000 classic works of art

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Does your cat imagine themselves to be a 21st century incarnation of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of the rising sun, protector of the home, aka lady of the slaughter?

If so, you should definitely allow him to download the Google Arts & Culture app on your phone to take a selfie using the Pet Portraits feature.

Remember all the fun you had in 2018 when the Art Selfie feature mistook you for William II, Prince of Orange or the wife of “Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen painting a portrait of his wife”?

Your pet will surely be just as thrilled to let a machine learning algorithm sift through tens of thousands of artworks from the collections of Google Arts & Culture’s partner museums, looking for look-alikes.

Or maybe he’ll just see it as one more example of human folly, if it’s a much lesser evil than our predilection for pet costumes.

If your pet wants to know more about the artworks they look like, you can tap on the results to explore them in depth.

Dogs, fish, birds, reptiles, horses and rabbits can also play, although anyone from the rodent family is excluded.

Mashable reports that “downloading a stock image of a mouse returned drawings of wolves.”

We can’t blame your pet snake for fuming.

Ditto for your pot-bellied Vietnamese pig.

Although your pet ferret probably doesn’t need an app (or a crystal ball) to know what their outcome would be. Better than an ermine collar, anyway…


If your pet is game and falls within Pet Portraits approved species parameters, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Launch the Google Arts & Culture app and select the Camera button. Scroll down to the Pet Portraits option.
  2. Ask your pet to take a selfie. (Or, upload a saved image.)
  3. Give the app a few seconds (or minutes) to return multiple results with similarity percentages.

Download the Google Arts & Culture app here.

Ayun Halliday is the chief primatologist of East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Little Potato Manifesto. Am here @AyunHalliday.

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