These days there is always a new app or service for your Android or iOS device that goes viral; halfway through 2022, another is making its mark.
Available for free download at iPhone and Android devicesNewProfilePic: Profile Picture can take a photo of you – or use an existing photo – and turn it into a drawing, thanks to AI (Artificial Intelligence).
After using it for a recent family event, I have to say that the precision of the filter and the different styles you can use make this app a fun experience. However, recent reports about the app stealing your data have dampened enthusiasm for this app.
We spoke to its developers to find out what they do with our data – and why they created the app in the first place.
Your best portrait
We spoke to Linerock spokesperson Kristina Lunina to ask what prompted them to design the app in the first place.
“We had been thinking about the idea for the app for a long time because we saw a multitude of users using the Photo Lab and ToonMe effects. [for] their profile pictures on social platforms, and decided to develop another app that solved this task better,” says Lumina. “We want to change the way people think about their profile pictures.”
Use AI to create the best cartoon of yourself
Previous apps in this area, such as apps developed in Russia Face App (which, incidentally, was slapped with a “potential counterintelligence threat” warning by the US FBI), uses algorithms to calculate how a selfie might be manipulated to make the subject look older or younger. NewProfilePic simply turns the subject into a drawing. We asked Lunana how the app does this.
“Our AI cartoon technology is based on a neural network that calculates how the image can be transformed into a drawing…using something called a generative adversarial network (GAN), which is an AI technology,” Lumina tells us. . “The main difficulty in training such AI networks lies in obtaining high-resolution, artifact-free drawings from your images of any quality, without using additional information such as personal data.”
“To achieve this kind of result, we developed a unique approach to train these AI networks,” says Lunina. “While this allowed us to create the cartoon effect, other features are almost ready to be introduced in Photo Lab, such as other portrait styles, realistic auto-beautify looks, and realistic emotions. to add to your photos.”
The privacy elephant in the bedroom
While reading reviews in App Store and Google Play Store, some users shared reading reports about the app taking personal data once it finished converting a photo into a cartoon. We lobbied Lunina to see if there was any merit in these reports.
“For example, the page says that ‘Detected key points may be stored with the photo on our providers’ servers for up to two weeks from the last interaction with the photo.“The only goal is to speed up any further processing of the same photos,” says Lunina.
“I would like to add that all user photos are hosted and processed on Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure servers, which are located in the United States. No additional data is taken – only what is necessary to help make the photos cartoon,” says Lunana.
“We have just created a special page where we explain the situation to our users, and we will update the page in the future.
What’s next for NewProfilePic?
Finally, with laptops and tablets capable of running iOS and Android apps, alongside general improvements in camera quality and speed, we wondered if the app might appear on macOS, Windows 11 or other platforms.
“We could consider it! But for now, users of laptops and other devices can use our web version.” Lumina reveals.