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Google photo-matching art app finds twins for CNET staffers

The latest viral craze matches your photo to museum and gallery artworks. We asked CNET staffers to try it, and the results aren't always flattering.

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CNET staff, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
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1 of 28 Rebecca Fleenor/CNET

Rebecca Fleenor

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.)"

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2 of 28 Ashlee Clark-Thompson/CNET

Ashlee Clark-Thompson

"Is there a shortage of black women in these archives, or do I just look like a little boy?"

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3 of 28 Nick Hide/CNET

Nick Hide

"Seeing this as validation for growing out my beard."

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4 of 28 Rich Brown/CNET

Rich Brown

"At that point you shave down the sides."

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5 of 28 Iyaz Akhtar/CNET

Iyaz Akhtar

"I definitely resemble some kind of bearded man..."

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6 of 28 Iyaz Akhtar/CNET

Iyaz Akhtar

"...or a little girl."

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7 of 28 Rochelle Garner/CNET

Rochelle Garner

"My colors have always been autumn."

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8 of 28 Jon Skillings/CNET

Jon Skillings

"Wish I could grow a beard like that. Or any beard, frankly." 

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9 of 28 Kelsey Adams/CNET

Kelsey Adams

Kelsey Adams tried a shot of her from 2016 (shown here), and one from 2018 (see next slide).

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10 of 28 Kelsey Adams/CNET

Kelsey Adams

"Scientific proof I've aged 20 years since 2016." (See earlier slide for explanation.)

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11 of 28 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Stephen Shankland as a teenager

"I'll take Madame Cezanne, sure!"

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12 of 28 Megan Wollerton/CNET

Megan Wollerton

"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!"

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13 of 28 David Carnoy/CNET

David Carnoy

"Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe was always a personal favorite. Now I know why."

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14 of 28 Jeff Sparkman/CNET

Jeff Sparkman

"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."

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15 of 28 Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

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."

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16 of 28 Brian Bennett/CNET

Brian Bennett

"Hmm... looks like I'm a serious guy once the glasses come off."

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17 of 28 Dan Ackerman/CNET

Dan Ackerman

"To be fair, I was suffering from extreme hat hair at the time."

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18 of 28 Roger Cheng/CNET

Roger Cheng

"I don't see it."

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19 of 28 Lori Grunin/CNET

Lori Grunin

"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."

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20 of 28 Patricia Puentes/CNET

Patricia Puentes

"I've tried several times. And it keeps finding resemblances between me and children with faces in varying degrees of chubbiness."

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21 of 28 Ry Crist/CNET

Ry Crist

"Guess I'm an old-school dork..." (Continued on next slide.)

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22 of 28 Ry Crist/CNET

Ry Crist

"...regardless of facial expression."

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23 of 28 Josh Goldman/CNET

Josh Goldman

"Well, at least now I can tell people I was once mistaken for a famous Lithuanian artist."

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24 of 28 Ian Sherr/CNET

Ian Sherr

"Uh, Google, we need to talk."

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25 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Sean Hollister

"I haven't gone back in time to pose for this... yet."

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26 of 28 Lindsey Turrentine/CNET

Lindsey Turrentine

"I look like your average white lady, so why's it so hard to find my match?"

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27 of 28 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Ben Fox Rubin

"It kinda works." 

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28 of 28 Leslie Katz/CNET

Leslie Katz

"OK, Google... that's not funny."

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