Google’s Pet Portraits lets you find art look-alikes for your furry friend



Google has announced an exciting new feature for its Arts and Culture app: the ability to search through thousands of paintings to find a look-alike for your pet. The company says its “Pet Portraits” feature will let you take a picture of a dog, cat, fish, bird, reptile, horse, or rabbit, and have a machine learning algorithm find pieces of art that feature a similar-looking animal. The process only takes a few seconds, and as a bonus you’ll be able to tap on the pieces of artwork to learn more about them. You can even save a video slideshow of your results.

I tried out Pet Portraits on my cat, Aslan, and the results were mixed — while the app was able to generate a beautiful (okay, mostly tan) color palette based on his fur, most of the art doppelgängers (as Google puts it) didn’t end up looking much like him at all.

The facial expression is similar, but the coloring is not.

Okay, this one’s spot on.

It also missed the most obvious look-alike for my boy (though in its defense I don’t think Google knows my cat’s name).

Left: Aslan, owned by me. Right: Aslan, owned by Disney.

The tool also lets you upload photos instead of using the live camera, which is good news if your pet is a bit photo-shy or if you want to experiment with different angles. You can also try it out with your co-worker’s pets — perhaps use the results to make fun of them in the replies to their fourth puppy tweet this week?

Using Frank yields some much better matches.
Puppy picture: Tom Warren

While I didn’t get great results, it’s still a lot of fun to play around with. Plus, you’re like me and don’t get to see what your pet would look like painted by Monet or da Vinci, the app also has a filter that lets you apply a famous artist’s style to your pictures.

This is what I wish I’d found.

If you want to try it out on your own pet, you can download the Google Arts and Culture app on the App Store or the Play Store. The app also has a feature where you can compare a picture of yourself to portraits — perhaps, if the stars align, you can use the features in conjunction to find a piece of artwork that features look-alikes of you and your pet.


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