Why Midwesterners Are Mad About The Google Arts & Culture App

melissa mcewen
2 min readJan 15, 2018

Unless you live until a rock, you’ve probably seen it on social media: someone’s selfie paired with a painting matched to their face. It’s from the Google Arts & Culture app. I downloaded it and was excited to try it for myself.

But I couldn’t find it. The app was full of stuff but these selfie feature was nowhere to be seen. A quick search took me to this article, where I learned I was possibly Gen X and/or dense

Alas, some disgruntled users (probably Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers) are giving the Google Arts & Culture app (iPhone-Android) one-star reviews, based on their inability to find the only feature for which they downloaded it.

I followed their directions to no avail.

Until I realized my problem wasn’t my age or ability to find things, but the fact I was in Chicago.

See the feature is location limited. And it seems like that means a lot of major coastal cities like New York City have it, but Chicago does not.

And the fact that so few journalists are in the Midwest has lead to condescending articles blaming users.

This is very sad. In the Midwest we do not have art so Google should have tried testing it here. Maybe we could have learned a bit about an art or two? It would also make sense to test a big feature in a smaller market. I do not have much art experience due to living in the Midwest, but I used to work in software and this is usually how we tested things.

Instead, the app just ends up making us feel left out and there it’s only for coastal. We Midwesterners tend to be a bit insecure.

Well Google, I hope you will deign to someday let us use this feature. I went to NYC once and I thought art seemed pretty cool. I think my fellow Midwesterners who have never been outside our corn rich plains might also appreciate it.

IN all seriousness, comment with what state you’re in if you can’t use the app. A friend has a theory that is possibly has to do with biometric privacy laws though I think it’s just testing.