Discover Smartify, the new mobile app that works as “a Shazam for the art world” — Recently launched, the app allows users to instantly identify artworks and access information about them, by simply scanning them with a smartphone.

Released at the Royal Academy of Arts in London last week, Smartify has been defined by its creators as “a Shazam for the art world”, that’s because like the app that can identify any music track, the brand-new one can reveal the title and artist of thousands of artworks. And Daily Design News will show you how this mobile app is about to change all the way we all use to search art-related information.


By cross-referencing thousands of artworks with a vast database that the company is constantly updating, it’s already in use in over 30 of the world’s major galleries and museums, including the National Gallery, the Rijksmuseum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the LACMA. The company refuses to disclose exactly how the app works but said that it creates “visual fingerprints” to differentiate between each artwork.

“We scan artworks using photos or digital images and then create digital fingerprints of the artwork, meaning that it is reduced to a set of digital dots and lines,” explained co-founder Anna Lowe.


The app’s aim is to offer a more human story, rather than the dry descriptions typical of audio guides and catalogs, providing users with detailed information about the piece they’re looking at, as well as recorded interviews with the artist.

Described by its creators as “like an enthusiastic and knowledgeable friend telling you more about a work of art”, Smartify currently doesn’t recognize artworks that are not stored in its database, but the company hopes to change this in the future.

The app has also collaborated with the nonprofit organization Wikimedia Foundation, to use Wikipedia’s image gallery, helping it to increase the efficacy of its image recognition technology.

Users can save their favorite artworks and share them with app’s online community. The app uses these favorites to recommend other pieces it thinks the user might like. The company hopes that project will reframe the use of smartphones in galleries, as objects for engagement rather than disruption.

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