The latest addition to the Google Arts & Culture app on Android and iOS enables users to match their selfies with famous portraits from international museum galleries. For now, Google has launched the feature in the U.S. only, but users from other countries are already enjoying the new feature using the VPN service.
How to use Google Arts & Culture app outside the U.S.
The Google Arts & Culture app comes in quite handy for those interested in viewing exhibits from international museums, institutions and galleries around the world. The app is also compatible with virtual reality headsets. Now, following the launch of the new tool, the Google Arts & Culture app climbed to the number one free app over the weekend, according to the app metric site – App Annie.
— BGR India (@BGRIndia) January 15, 2018
To access the new tool in countries where the feature has still to be unveiled, users simply need to download the app from the Play Store, and then download a VPN app, which would also be available on the Play Store or App Store. After installing the VPN app, “Switch Location” should be enabled to select the U.S. from the list.
Users then need to scroll down to a card in the app, saying “Is your portrait in a museum?” and then click “I Accept.” The app would need access to the front camera to click a photo. A user needs to align their face in the given frame to allow the app to click a photo. After the photo is clicked, the database and pattern recognition software will scan the database and display four best-matched options.
Explaining why the app is not available outside the app, a Google spokesperson told The Sun, “This is an experiment that’s only available in parts of the US right now, but we’re glad people are having so much fun matching their selfies to works of art.”
Is the app safe to use?
The Google Arts & Culture app has created quite a frenzy with users all over the world, sharing their museum match on social networking sites. However, there are people who have raised concerns over the nature of the app saying that Google is using the app to store pictures of people for its photo recognition database.
American actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted: ‘I mean, this google app that matches your face to a piece of fine art. Anyone suspicious of just surrendering your facial recognition to google or are we confident they already have that at this point?’
Google, on the other hand, told MailOnline that they do not have any ulterior motive behind the new feature, and the uploaded images are being deleted after finding a match. However, not everyone is convinced with Google’s statement with some believing that it is a sign of the U.S. becoming a surveillance state.
One Twitter user named @ctwalkup1 said that the Google Arts and Culture app is a step ahead in surveillance state facial recognition. “And I’m going all in because I want that sweet sweet social media validation,” the user said.
Another Twitter user sarcastically congratulated everyone who used the app, saying they are now in the NSA facial recognition database.