The latest viral craze, a feature in Google's Arts & Culture free app, matches your selfie to works from museums and galleries around the world. It uses pattern recognition, so it can suss out if a face has a beard or glasses or other distinct features, then compares that mien to 70,000 artworks. Which doesn't explain why so many beardless women (men too!) get matched to an old-style facial-hair-wearing dude, but whatever, Google.
We asked CNET staff to try it out. Warning to the vain: Most matches aren't that flattering, but they sure are funny. Match percentages for Google's app vary wildly depending on the angle of your face, hair styling and whether you look directly at the camera.
Rebecca Fleenor scored the highest match of all CNET staffers, and really, we weren't surprised. "OK, OK, so I know a thing or two about museum doppelgangers. (Unfortunately my spirit painting, the girl from Bouguereau's "The Broken Pitcher," doesn't seem to be in Google's database.)"
"Is there a shortage of black women in these archives, or do I just look like a little boy?"
"Seeing this as validation for growing out my beard."
"At that point you shave down the sides."
"I definitely resemble some kind of bearded man..."
"...or a little girl."
"My colors have always been autumn."
"Wish I could grow a beard like that. Or any beard, frankly."
Kelsey Adams tried a shot of her from 2016 (shown here), and one from 2018 (see next slide).
"Scientific proof I've aged 20 years since 2016." (See earlier slide for explanation.)
Stephen Shankland as a teenager
"I'll take Madame Cezanne, sure!"
"Yep, we do indeed look alike -- from the bangs to the unkempt wisps of hair. At least she had the good sense to wear a scarf!"
"Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe was always a personal favorite. Now I know why."
"Much to my surprise, I look like another bald guy with facial hair. When I posted this on Facebook, some of my friends suggested I also looked like Lenin, so I guess I've got that as a backup."
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper as a teenager
"I photographed a candid snapshot from high school, and it turned out to be a better match than any of my current selfies. Sadly you can't see my oh-so 1980s argyle vest."
"Hmm... looks like I'm a serious guy once the glasses come off."
"To be fair, I was suffering from extreme hat hair at the time."
"I don't see it."
"This woman looks exactly like me -- if you exclude the shape of her face, nose, mouth and eyes. We're both white with rosy cheeks and dark hair."
"I've tried several times. And it keeps finding resemblances between me and children with faces in varying degrees of chubbiness."
"Guess I'm an old-school dork..." (Continued on next slide.)
"...regardless of facial expression."
"Well, at least now I can tell people I was once mistaken for a famous Lithuanian artist."
"Uh, Google, we need to talk."
"I haven't gone back in time to pose for this... yet."
"I look like your average white lady, so why's it so hard to find my match?"
Ben Fox Rubin
"It kinda works."
"OK, Google... that's not funny."