There’s a Shazam-like app that can identify works of art

A few years ago, the Shazam app made it easier for frustrated music lovers to identify the songs they heard, but couldn’t name. Now, there’s another app that does the same thing, albeit for art.

Smartify is an augmented reality art identifier that lets users scan an artwork, identify the title and artist, and find out its historical info. Said to be the ‘Shazam of the art world,’ the app is already in use in 30 galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Royal Academy of Art in London.

Using it is quite simple. No need to take a photo. Just aim your camera at a painting or sculpture, and the app will do the rest. You can even save your favourites and share with others, essentially making you the curator of your own digital art collection.

According to its creators, Smartify “goes beyond audio guides and catalogs, like an enthusiastic and knowledgeable friend available to tell visitors more about the works they are viewing.”

They explained further: “We know that the use of phones in museums is still controversial. So we use the latest technologies and simple design to create a non-intrusive experience. Our ambition is to re-frame the use of smartphones as engagement rather than distraction, and to help museums build new audiences and revenue streams.”

Smartify is now available and free to download for the iPhone and Android.