Google’s chat app Allo takes Bitmoji to the next level
Google’s messaging app Allo — one of the several confusingly similar communication apps Google has launched in the past year or so — has a new trick: It can create a Bitmoji-like, cartoon version of yourself.
Even better, Google’s using a neural network, an artificial intelligence of sorts, to do it.
Instead of analyzing a photo of you pixel by pixel, Google’s algorithms recognize “qualitative features” of your face such as eye color, and then turn them over to another algorithm which picks from more than 563 quadrillion combinations to make a funny image that sort of looks like you.
As you might imagine, all of this was quite a challenge for Google’s team of artists and scientists. One issue in particular was avoiding the so called “uncanny valley,” a psychological phenomenon which makes an illustration of a human that’s very similar, but not quite identical to the real thing, creepy to humans. You can read more about Google’s efforts to overcome this and other problems here.
On the user side, however, things are simple: Take a selfie and the software will generate a cartoon version of you (see above) that you can then use as emoji in your messages.
Google says that, in the future, the software might create different you-moji. “This first style that launched today speaks to your sarcastic side but the next pack might be more cute for those sincere moments. Then after that, maybe they’ll turn you into a dog,” Jennifer Daniel, Expressions Creative Director at Allo, wrote in a blog post.
You can get Allo for Android here. The feature has not yet made it to Allo for iOS, but it should arrive “soon.”