Shazam is one of my favorite apps. If I’m in a coffee shop or bar and hear a track I like, I can instantly find out what it is and check out the artist later on Apple Music. Smartify aims to do the same job for art, aiming to educate art gallery visitors and gallery owners alike, reports New Scientist.

The app uses image recognition to identify scanned artworks and provide people with additional information about them. Users can then add the works to their own digital collection […]

Museums and galleries that sign up will also be able to access demographic information about people who use Smartify and the artworks they interact with, which they could use to inform their marketing and advertising.

The bad news is that the app will initially be extremely limited, covering selected artworks at just four galleries.

The app will launch in May for selected artworks at the Louvre in Paris, France, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and all the artworks at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Wallace Collection in London.

The good news is you won’t need to be standing in front of the original painting to learn more about it: the app will work just as well with a print, even a postcard. So if you’re sitting in your new date’s apartment and they have one of the prints on the wall, you’ll be able to quickly turn yourself into an expert on it while they’re getting the drinks.

Smartify is hoping to quickly sign up more museums and art galleries, but is unlikely to succeed with all.

“Many visitors go to museums to have an unplugged experience,” says Kevin Walker at the Royal College of Art in London. He thinks visitors should look up from their phones and put their trust in gallery curators when it comes to viewing works of art.

The app is a free download from the App Store.


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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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