The trouble with emoji is that very few of us look like the caricatures we punctuate our instant messages with. If you’ve been itching for a more personalised experience, Google is rolling out an answer right now in new versions of its own Gboard keyboard for Android and iOS.
Called Mini Stickers, the new feature takes a selfie and generates a cartoon version of your face in seconds. The program takes into account a variety of characteristics including skin tone, face shape and eye colour, and then creates a (hopefully not too insulting) version of your fizzog using machine learning and neural networks.
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Your cartoon doppelganger is then generated into 100 stickers that can be plastered across your messages at will – more than enough to ensure they comfortably cross that line from ‘cute’ to ‘irritating’.
If the feature looks familiar to you, then perhaps you used Google Allo – the discontinued chat program that Google unveiled in 2016. Now that Allo is dead, Google seems to be grabbing the best bits and redistributing them to its apps that still maintain a following.
While Gboard is getting Mini Stickers, it looks like Google Assistant features may be being repurposed for Android Messages.
For now, I’m not seeing the option on either of the Android phones within reach, but it should be rolling out to iOS and Android in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here’s an animation from Google showing how it should work when it finally lands.
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Did that spin through too quickly for you? Basically, it looks like you need to tap the emoji button next to the space bar, select the square with a face, tap on the mini icon and hit create. Then take a picture, let Google’s AI do its magic and then start bugging your friends with your avatar at all hours of the day and night.
Have Mini Stickers landed on your phone yet? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.