Google’s selfie-to-painting match feature takes social media by storm

British politician Edward Miliband seems uncannily similar to an Italian portrait at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli. (Photo courtesy: Twitter)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Google’s selfie-to-painting match feature takes social media by storm

DUBAI: An update on Google’s Arts and Culture app is taking social media by storm due to a feature that allows users to match their selfies with fine art portraits from around the world.
Twitter users have flooded the platform with their successful — and sometimes hilarious — face-matches.
The project was launched in collaboration with 17 museums around the world, including London’s Tate Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Florence’s Uffizi.
The feature, which launched this week, is still region locked and is not available outside the US — for now.
A Google spokesperson told The Sun newspaper: "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."
However, the inaccessibility has not stopped Twitter users around the world from having a good laugh at the snaps, some of which have proven to be less-than-perfect matches.


What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

Updated 15 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

  • Mermin shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news
  • The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations

The First Amendment ideal of an independent press allows American journalists to present critical perspectives on government policies and actions; but are the media independent of government in practice? Here Jonathan Mermin demonstrates that when it comes to military intervention, journalists over the past two decades have let the government itself set the terms and boundaries of foreign policy debate in the news.

Analyzing newspaper and television reporting of US intervention in Grenada and Panama, the bombing of Libya, the Gulf War, and US actions in Somalia and Haiti, he shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news. 

Journalists often criticize the execution of US policy, but fail to offer critical analysis of the policy itself if actors inside the government have not challenged it. Mermin ultimately offers concrete evidence of outside-Washington perspectives that could have been reported in specific cases, and explains how the press could increase its independence of Washington in reporting foreign policy news. 

The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations, based on the observation that bipartisan support for US intervention is often best interpreted as a political phenomenon, not as evidence of the wisdom of US policy. Journalists should remember that domestic political factors often influence foreign policy debate. The media, Mermin argues, should not see a Washington consensus as justification for downplaying critical perspectives.