Meet your match: Google app finds famous art you look like

Grab the Monet and Gogh: The Google Arts & Culture app lets you take a selfie, then compares it to thousands of museum paintings.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Me, and a Renoir painting. I guess it could be worse?

Google Arts & Culture app

Sure, we all know what famous person we vaguely look like (I always get Geena Davis, which ... I wish! She's still in a "League of Her Own.") But the blandly named Google Arts & Culture app will dig through thousands of museum artworks from days gone by to see if you have a truly old-school doppelganger.

It matched me up with numerous paintings, but the app's top choice was a Renoir. Although I doubt the woman depicted in his painting wore braces.

Twitter users are sharing their results online, whether or not they like the results. Even actor Kumail Nanjiani tried it out.

The app itself came out in 2016, but this feature is new. To try it out, download the app (link below), then scroll down to find the photo-matching game. Sadly, it's not available in all regions, so if you're not seeing it, that may be why.


Some people are having trouble finding the photo-search part of the app. Look for this. But if you don't see it, it's likely not available where you live.

Screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

When it works, it works. But you might not be very flattered by the results. Women are often matched up with old-style paintings featuring men with mustaches, and many of the portraits it searches are just not especially lovely. (Not everyone can be as lucky as CNET's Rebecca Fleenor, who just happened to be a twin of a famous painting.)

You can't simply upload your best-ever photo. You are supposed to take a selfie with the app and roll with however you look that particular moment. 

But here's a cheat: if you have a photo you like better, the app will let you flip the camera around and photograph your photo, which can be fun. An 1980s photo of me worked, but when I tried to photograph a picture of my daughter and her cat, Google refused to play along.

Watch this: Google's art selfie app doesn't work in some states

The photo matching game isn't the only reason to download the app. You can also zoom into the details of famous masterpieces, take virtual tours of famous museums, browse artwork by time period and color, plus read various feature stories. A touching article on Anne Frank displayed a bunch of photos of her that I'd never seen before, including one of baby Anne in her mother Edith's arms at just 1 day old.

The app is available for iPhone or Android.

Google photo-matching art app finds twins for CNET staffers

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