Tech

Google’s Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

I recently discovered a less-known feature of Google Images, and subsequently killed half a day’s productivity playing with it.

Inside the search box, on images.google.com only, there’s a little camera icon that lets you search the Web for photos that look similar to one you upload or link to.

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppleganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

My inner narcissist immediately uploaded my headshot.

 

Shane Snow

Google accurately identified me as a thirty-year-old, curly-haired white dude. To my delight, it compared me to an array of rather handsome celebrities:

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon   2AA93D56-741D-49E2-85EE-A7B429678DEC  FA32F3E3-3FC4-4D19-B04F-781625FE1BC0

(Sweet.)

On the other hand, Google also said I look like actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the really pale kid on Glee, and Ellen:

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon  Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon  Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

(Hmm.)

Ok, so maybe I do look a bit—just a bit!—like Ellen. Can’t say I’ve never been called “ma’am” before. But also, it looks like Google could have put us together because we were all white and making the same close-lipped face or something.

Out of a somewhat morbid curiosity, I decided to play this game for the rest of the afternoon, using photos of my officemates within eyeshot.

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

Here’s who came up for the dashing Joe ‘Lazer’ Lazauskas, editor-in-chief of Contently:

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

 

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon   Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon   Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

I was upset that Google thinks Lazer looks like my man Ryan Gosling aka the best looking man in the world (it’s a good thing women are attracted to men for their personality or whatever), but I had to concede to Google that Lazer is, indeed, a fine specimen. It even accurately guessed that he is the same size as Elijah Wood!

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

Our VP of Product, naturally, looks to Google like the clean-cut neighbor you’d trust to pilot your airplane or save you from a spider in your bathroom:

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

 

Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon  Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon  Google's Secret Celebrity Doppelganger Tool Will Waste the Rest of Your Afternoon

I was about 30 minutes into this game, and Google was on FIRE. Speaking of fire, Google decided that our marketing manager looks like the redheaded girl in all the haircutting ads, the girl from Dirty Dancing, Christina Aguilera, and Harry Styles:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

 

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

And that’s around the time Google Images started breaking.

Our UX lead, Kunal, for example, apparently looks like Abraham Lincoln:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

 

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Also, Ben Affleck and Old George Michael.

(I can see it. Kind of.)

Google thinks our CEO is Shave-head Channing mixed with Shave-head Travolta mixed with Always-looks-the-same Vin Diesel:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

 

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone
My table-mate Ray is apparently the love child of a young Hugh Jackman, Jaws, and Kim Jong Un:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

 

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Then, I tried Sam Slaughter, our VP of Content/The-Glue-That-Holds-Us-Together. I popped in his former Facebook profile picture and this is what happened:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Um.

Hmm.

I tried again with a random sleepy photo from his feed:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Well. Apparently Sam looks like everyone, regardless of race, age, and eyewear.

I tried a different picture and got this…

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Perhaps I needed a proper headshot to do Sam’s visage some more comprehensive justice.

It turns out, after trolling Sam’s Facebook for an hour, that he has few normal photos. Get some headshots, man!

For this photo, I got this:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

If Sam ever gets arrested for something, he has a great shot of not being identified in a police lineup.

Finally, I gave Google this one…

… and got recognizable faces: Adam Levine, Bearded Jackman, and Facial-hair-man from Hunger Games:

… and got recognizable faces: Adam Levine, Bearded Jackman, and Facial-hair-man from Hunger Games:

Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone  Google Will Find Your Celebrity Doppelgangers OR My Friend Sam Looks Like Everyone

Nice job, Sam.

From this Internet rabbit hole, I conclude two things: First, photo recognition tech is weird. And second, apparently Googlebot doesn’t see race. Score one for equality.

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