Google Allo uses artificial intelligence to turn your selfies into personalised stickers and emojis

Google Allo uses artificial intelligence to turn your selfies into personalised stickers and emojis
May 12 15:46 2017 Print This Article

Google’s answer to WhatsApp has launched a new feature using the company’s research into artificial intelligence.

Any selfies taken inside the Allo app can be transformed into illustrated emoji-like stickers that can be sent on to friends. Algorithms inside the app recognise facial features and automatically generate an illustrated version.

Users can then tweak options to personalise their creations even further.

“People today take selfies in all types of lighting conditions and poses. And while people can easily pick out and recognise qualitative features, like eye colour, regardless of the lighting condition, this is a very complex task for computers,” explained Google’s research team in a detailed blog post .

“In order to account for this, we explored how we could enable an algorithm to pick out qualitative features in a manner similar to the way people do, rather than the traditional approach of hand coding how to interpret every permutation of lighting condition, eye colour, etc.”

Interestingly, the team said it worked with illustrators who drafted what different facial features and hairstyles would look like. This was deliberately to avoid an “uncanny valley” experience where a computer produces a replica that is almost complete, but not accurate enough for comfort.

“Rather than aim to replicate a person’s appearance exactly, pursuing a lower resolution model, like emojis and stickers, allows the team to explore expressive representation by returning an image that is less about reproducing reality and more about breaking the rules of representation,” the team said.

Google Allo was launched back in September last year, with the promise of being a “smart” messaging app.

But adoption has so far failed to match the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

In fact, because the instant messaging space has become so crowded, tech companies are looking at features like the one described above to try and differentiate their product.

WhatsApp recently launched ‘Status’ an encrypted way of sending time-sensitive photos and GIFs to friends. The feature was likely “borrowed” from Snapchat – another app making inroads into the messaging crowd.

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Joshua
Joshua

I am a very driven Web Content Manager with extensive experience in digital writing and editing, strong ability to work with teams and multi-task projects under strict deadlines. I have extensive experience in various CMS, including Vivvo and Word Press. Most of all I am a Christian.

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