Credit: Google

Google has announced a change to its Arts & Culture app—now, instead of just searching for paintings that resemble selfies, users can have their photographs reinterpreted as if they had been painted by a famous artist. Called Art Transfer, the app gives users an entirely unique way to view photographs they have taken.

Many famous artists nearly instantly recognizable artistic styles—most anyone can point out a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, for example. Now, Google has made it possible for iOS and Android users to imagine photographs they have taken as if they were originally painted by a famous , such as Van Gogh.

There are many filters available for adding effects to , but Art Transfer is different. Instead of altering the images in a photo, it alters the idea of the photo itself to imagine how the person, place or thing in a might look if painted by Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Edvard Munch or a host of other famous painters.

The app does its work courtesy of an AI system developed by the team at Google, and operates locally on your phone or tablet—you do not even have to be online to run it.

To try the new feature, users open the Camera menu at the bottom of the screen in the Arts and Culture app and then choose Art Transfer. After they choose a photo, they will be shown a list of images of masterpieces created by famous artists. Clicking on one of them kicks off the AI routine, resulting in the creation of an original interpretation of the user's photograph. Google has even given users something to do while they wait for their masterpiece to appear—they can read the fun facts that are displayed onscreen regarding the painting they have chosen.

The timing of Google's new feature release could not be better, of course, as millions of people the world over are self-isolating at home and looking for ways to spend their time. The new feature will allow users to while away the hours in a unique and interesting way.