Google’s Allo combines artists with neural networks to turn your selfies into stickers

Author: Paul Sawers / Source: VentureBeat Google is continuing to flex its machine learning muscles today with the rollout of a new auto-

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Google is continuing to flex its machine learning muscles today with the rollout of a new auto-illustration feature within its Allo messaging app.

Allo, which debuted last May ahead of its formal launch four months later, is Google’s effort to create a smart messaging app that not only connects you with your friends but also helps you plan events and find information.

As with any messaging app, photos play a pivotal role in Allo’s appeal. And with the rise of selfies, Google is now allowing its users to add a little artistic flair to the mix through computer-generated drawings designed to reflect the person’s general look, with funky customization options thrown in for good measure.

Above: Selfies in Allo

Rather than adopting a standard computer vision approach to replicating photos by analyzing snaps on a pixel-by-pixel basis — which may not garner the best results due to varying poses and lighting conditions — Google said that its new algorithm can pick out features unique to an individual, while working alongside a team of illustrators who create drawings that represent myriad other features, such as hairstyles. Human “raters” were used to train the neural network to match the most suitable illustration with each selfie.

Above: Illustration Selfies

Similar to humanoids that are built to resemble humans but don’t quite make the grade, one of the core underlying issues that Google addresses with…

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