How Selfies Helped Google’s Arts & Culture App Go Viral

How Selfies Helped Google’s Arts & Culture App Go Viral

The Google Arts & Culture app went viral over the last week, quickly becoming the #1 free app on both the App Store and Google Play. The app itself has been around since 2016, but it wasn’t until the recent introduction of its selfie-matching feature that it achieved this level of success.

By providing users with a way to connect themselves with pieces of art in a fun and shareable way, Google Arts & Culture was able to dramatically grow their user base through the influence of social media. In fact, Google says that over 30 million selfies have been taken on the Google Arts & Culture app over the course of just a few days.

Social Influence at Work

One of the biggest factors in the Google Arts & Culture app’s meteoric rise was the early adoption from social influencers. Several celebrities shared their art-matched selfies to their millions of followers and the trend took off.

Guys, this app is DEAD ON.

A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on


A post shared by Zach Braff (@zachbraff) on

Even Hurrdat joined in the fun.

Search Trends

Search trends show just how quickly the trend became viral. Starting from relative obscurity, there has been a huge spike in interest for “google arts” over the past few days, reaching a peak in popularity on January 15.

"interest over time"

The rapid success may have even caught Google off guard, since the selfie-match feature is only available in certain locations inside the U.S., drawing criticism from those who can’t access it yet. While they do promise an expansion of the feature to more locations, they’ll need to act quickly to capitalize on what is bound to be a short-lived trend.

Google Arts & Culture will also need to find a way to engage their new user base even further as the selfie excitement begins to fade. The app already showcases thousands of exhibitions from over 1,500 museum partners, and they’ll most certainly use this success to bring in even more partners and more artwork.

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