Google's AutoDraw turns your clumsy scribbles into art

… by replacing it with a better drawing from a talented artist.


Google wants to help you get in touch with your inner Picasso. Today, it's launching AutoDraw, a web-based tool that uses machine learning to turn your hamfisted doodling into art. It's similar to, but clearly far more advanced than, Android Wear's ability to recognize a crudely drawn smiley face and replace it with an emoji.

The app is free and it works on any phone, computer or tablet. It's pretty straightforward: draw your best version of a cake, for example, and the auto suggestion tool will try to guess what that amorphous blob actually is. Then, you can choose from a number of better looking cakes made by talented artists. Or, if amorphous blob is actually what you were striving for, you can turn off the auto suggestions and doodle away.

AutoDraw uses the same technology as another Google experiment called QuickDraw. It's a mini-game that tells you which objects to draw, like an eye or a helicopter, then gives the AI 20 seconds to recognize it. AutoDraw is more of a creative tool, allowing users to make things like posters or coloring books. But, both likely serve the same purpose of teaching a neural network to recognize doodles.

Right now, Google claims AutoDraw can guess hundreds of drawings, and the company plans to add more in the future. If you have suggestions on what objects Google should add, or you're an artist who'd like to contribute to the project, you can do that here.