Sick of sharing normal, human selfies and boring, lifeless emoji? Thanks to a new artificial intelligence tool from Google, you can now make customizable emoji stickers of yourself based on a selfie. The tool is part of Google's chat app Allo and is available for use starting Thursday, Fast Co Design reported.
"What we're doing with Allo is trying to find all the ways that ML can make messaging better," Jason Cornwell, Google's Communications UX Lead, told Cliff Kuang. "From saying the right thing at the right time to conveying the right emotion at the right time." The new tool started as a research project intended to determine if ML (machine learning) could be used to make an "instant cartoon" of a selfie. To push beyond the limitations of the cartoon format, Google brought in the expertise of art director Jennifer Daniel.
Within the Allo app, users will now be able to choose the "Turn a selfie into stickers" option when responding to someone. Once this option is selected, users are asked to take a selfie that's immediately put through Google's "image-recognition algorithms." The user's facial features are then mapped to a kit from Cartoon Network artist Lamar Abrams. Users can then make alterations to the design before 22 custom stickers are produced.
As you can imagine, the options here are abundant. According to Fast Co Design, Google estimates there are 563 quadrillion faces that could potentially be generated using the new Allo tool. 563 QUADRILLION FACES. But the goal here, Cornwell explained, isn't to produce the most accurate images of users. "It's to let someone create something that feels like themselves, to themselves," he said.
Google launched Allo for Android and iOS in September 2016, touting it as a "smarter" messaging app. The app also utilizes the Google Assistant, which allows users to converse with Google by asking questions directly within the chat interface. Google considers the Assistant to be "the next chapter" in their journey to help people in their everyday lives.