If you have your phone close at hand, open up emojiscavengerhunt.withgoogle.com and see how far you can get. As the URL suggests, it’s an emoji scavenger hunt — a new AI experiment created by Google that shows how the company’s machine learning tools can be used to make fun little games. In this case, you have to use your phone’s camera to find objects that match emoji within a time limit. Each one you find increases your time.
It’s a well-implemented little experiment, although the object recognition feature can be a bit hit-or-miss. It refused to recognize my plug for example, though I took advantage of its lack of precision later to have a dish towel stand in for a scarf. I got through a dozen items before being stumped by the game’s demand for a strawberry.
Experiments like this are a good example of how AI features like object recognition are finding their way into more and more parts of everyday life. It’s also a good reminder that this coming week is Google’s I/O developer conference, where the company will surely have some AI news to share. There’s rumored to be an update planned for its AI camera app, Google Lens, and we’ll probably hear some more about the company’s cloud offerings, like AutoML and its specialized AI chips known as TPUs. As always, we’ll be covering all the news here at The Verge from May 8th onward.