art Stories May 23, 2016

Google Brain, the search giant’s machine learning arm, is setting up a new group to see if it can teach AI to make its own, original works of art. The company, named Magenta, will be announced more officially at the beginning of June, but was referenced to in a talk given by Douglas Eck, a Google Brain researcher, at Moogfest.

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art Stories March 1, 2016

We’ve read a lot about Google’s machine-learning projects over the past 12 months. Perhaps most intriguing was the Deepmind project which created works of art using neural networks. Or, perhaps a more accurate description is, that the DeepDream algorithm would turn existing pictures in to the stuff of nightmares. By distorting shapes in to animal heads and psychedelic patterns and colors, the finished product was almost terrifying.

As it turns out, Google put on an auction at a trendy San Francisco venue and sold some of its larger pieces for as much as $8,000.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

art Stories February 25, 2016

Google starts program to make machine generated artwork, first exhibition this Saturday in SF

People on the Internet have long been captivated by the artwork made by Google’s neural networks. While created by a computer, many have called it dreamlike and surreal. The company realizes the artistic implications of machine learning and is starting a program that brings together artists and engineers to make new works.

art Stories November 11, 2015

Google’s new ‘Wallpaper Art’ app puts beautiful artwork on your Chromebook

Google has many side initiatives, and one of them is the Cultural Institute that digitizes works of art from museums and archives around the world and puts them online.

Today, their Art Project released an app for Chrome OS that updates the wallpaper of your device to a different piece of art from their collection every day. Expect “masterpieces ranging from Van Gogh and Monet, all the way to contemporary works from street artists around the world,” according to Chrome evangelist François Beaufort in announcement post. If today’s piece doesn’t jive with your artistic taste, you can skip to the next wallpaper in the app.

The Chrome app is very similar to the Muzei Live Wallpaper app by Googler Roman Nurik that also changes the wallpaper on your phone and Android Wear watch face to a work of art. Another app that features work from the Google Art Project is the Street Art watch face for Android Wear. You can download the Google Wallpaper art app from the Chrome web store.

art Stories August 17, 2015

Add a beautifully illustrated cover art photo to your Facebook Event from Android

More than 75 million pages for private events were created on Facebook last year, and to keep its Events product growing the company is rolling out something that it believes will increase engagement for user-created events without much extra work on the part of the host: cover art themes.

If you’ve ever visited a group, event, or personal page on Facebook, you’ve seen cover art. The big photos which act as banners on these pages provide users with a little added personalization while keeping things within reason (*cough* MySpace *cough*). But at least in the case of events pages, it hasn’t been easy to add cover art from a mobile device — especially considering how the Events product is buried in a “More” menu within the Facebook app. And you have to find a good photo to use in the first place. With the addition of cover art themes to the Facebook app on Android, finding a beautiful, relevant photo to enhance your event is as easy as telling Facebook what the theme of your event is. The app will then present you with a pack of illustrations designed in-house and by outside designers.

The different cover art themes include everything from “Seasons,” which features illustrations of everything you might associate with the different seasons like summer and backyard BBQs, to “Recreation,” which within you might find an illustration of people jumping into a pool. There are 36 pieces of cover art to initially choose from, organized into categories like the aforementioned seasons and recreation. Facebook says it will periodically be adding new themes and illustrations over the coming months.

The big thing that Facebook wants to emphasize with the release of these cover art themes is engagement. The company says that it has found through feedback from users that adding a cover art photo to an event positively impacts the engagement (i.e. RSVPs) it sees. Launching this new Events product feature first on mobile makes sense simply because 55% of all Events activity (and most activity on Facebook period) happens from mobile devices. It’s Android and US-only for now, and will be coming to iOS soon.

art Stories August 11, 2015

This iOS-like Material Design screen rotation concept looks slick

Material Design brought a lot of changes with Android Lollipop, but there’s nothing that says things can’t be improved. Designer Miroslav Vitula thinks he can improve the rotation animations in Android, specifically giving the OS a smooth transition not unlike the one found in iOS. Here’s what he had to say about his concept:

There are a bunch of smooth interactions in Android but sadly, rotation isn’t one of them. I’ve been craving the “smooth rotation” (as seen on iOS) since ICS. Well, let’s hope that one day, this will become an actual thing.

The example he uses is the Google+ app, which offers several Material Design tabs along the top as well as a cover image and a profile picture. As you can see below, rotating the device would smoothly transition between the two views. This would perhaps be nicest on big-screen devices like the Nexus 6 which are more enjoyable to use in landscape.

Like he says, hopefully this could one day be reality.

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