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Google Allo Now Lets You Turn Selfies Into Personalised Stickers Using Machine Learning
They’re just as easy to use as they are to make, with the new sticker pack appearing at the top of the list when you go to use one. Just select the one that fits your mood and it will automatically send to your recipient. You can also long-press on one of the stickers to share it with Android Messages, Google Voice, or just about any other app that accepts images.
Once your selfie stickers are created, you can send them to anyone who uses the Allo app.
Allo hasn’t exactly been the runaway success that Google thought it would be, but that hasn’t stopped it from adding a steady stream of upgrades and new features. But with the latest new addition, some people might want to give it a second look.
Google Allo has got a new feature that turns selfies into stickers Google uses machine learning to create these stickers It has started rolling out on Android; iOS app will get it later
From there, you can either save them to your gallery or customize your face for better accuracy. One thing to watch out for—if you’re wearing a hat in your selfie, the neural network will think you’re bald, so you’ll need to add hair in the customization panel (a turban and hijab are also options). But otherwise, the results are pretty spot-on. It even picked up my hazel eye color through my glasses.
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Since its launch, Google Allo has not been able to become a mainstream messaging app like its rivals WhatsApp, Messenger etc. There are a lot of basic features that are still being added in the app like the chat backup feature, which got it 50 million downloads recently. In the meantime, Google decided to go in line with the concept of Bitmoji, a popular app that creates cool avatars out of user’s photograph, and introduced a new feature in Allo that lets you turn your selfies into personalised cartoon stickers and emojis. It is currently rolling out on Allo on Android, while the iOS version will soon receive the feature.
How to make and send selfie stickers in Google Allo The latest update lets you create stickers in your likeness and send them to your friends. Greenbot
While the functionality of generating stickers out of selfies is not new and has already been available on Bitmoji for enough time, Google’s version uses a combination of neural networks and the work of artists, which have partnered with the company. In simple terms, Google Allo will employ machine learning to map selfies to produce the colour, structure, and animations for the stickers. These stickers can be further customised as per the user’s preference.
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In all, 24 stickers will be created featuring your mug in a variety of situations, including your face on a slice of pizza, as a zombie, if you were an abstract art painting, and sleeping.
In its research blog post, Google’s Expressions Creative Director for Allo, Jennifer Daniel explains, “To create an illustration of you that captures the qualities that would make it recognizable to your friends, we worked alongside an artistic team to create illustrations that represented a wide variety of features. Artists initially designed a set of hairstyles, for example, that they thought would be representative, and with the help of human raters we used these hairstyles to train the network to match the right illustration to the right selfie.”
When you tap the selfie sticker option, you’ll see a Create button. Tap that and you’ll enter a Snapchat-style selfie screen that lets you snap a photo (you can’t use a prior selfie for your sticker). There are a pair of eyeglasses in the middle of the screen, so you’ll want to align your eyes with them.
At the top of the list should be a new option to turn a selfie into stickers. If you’re not seeing it, you can side-load the APK (see link below), but unlike other installs, I also had to clear the cache (Settings>Apps>Allo>Storage>Clear Cache) and quit the app. If you’re still not seeing it, you can force stop (Settings>Apps>Allo) see if that works.
Once you like what you see, tap the camera button and Google’s engine will begin to work its magic. The whole process takes about five seconds, and you’ll see a fun set of disguises to pass the time. Then you’ll be taken to a new screen with your selfie-inspired stickers.
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Keeping in mind the perspective of gender neutrality, inclusion of all races and colour, Google Allo creates stickers and emojis belonging to people of all races, gender and colour. In an interview with Fast Company, Jason Cornwell, who leads UX department for Google’s communication projects, noted that the creation of emojis and stickers do not become an end goal instead it is a part of an effort that is aimed “to let someone create something that feels like themselves, to themselves.”
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Elaborating on the advancement of machine learning and algorithms used for Google Allo’s sticker creation technology, Daniel refers to the concept of ‘Uncanny Valley’ which is the hypothesis that human replicas which appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit feelings of eeriness and revulsion among some observers, as on Wikipedia. “Rather than aim to replicate a person’s appearance exactly, pursuing a lower resolution model, like emojis and stickers, allows the team to explore expressive representation by returning an image that is less about reproducing reality and more about breaking the rules of representation,” he notes while explaining how the company takes note of emotions rather than focusing on the visible physical appearances.
The new update to Allo is rolling out to the Play Store, but you can also side-load the Google-signed APK from APKMirror. You may need to follow the instructions above to get the selfie sticker option to appear, however.
To find the feature, start a new message with someone who has the Allo app installed and tap the emoji button in the message field. Swipe left to scroll past the default stickers and tap the overflow (three dots) menu. On the next screen, tap the smiling sticker icon at the far right of the selection window to bring up your sticker gallery.
If you’re wearing a hat in your selfie, Allo will think you’re bald, but you can add hair later.
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Further reading: Google Allo, Apps, Science, Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Google
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But selfie stickers add even more personality. Google is using neural networks here “to analyze the pixels of an image and algorithmically determine attribute values by looking at pixel values to measure color, shape, or texture.” Translation: They actually look like you.
With the new update rolling out to the Play Store, Google is introducing a long-rumored feature called selfie stickers. If you haven’t yet tried out Allo, stickers are central to its appeal, as Google looks to bring an Apple Messages-style whimsy to Android, adorning your conversations with everything from Star Wars to exercising avocados.