“Machine learning” and “neural network” are familiar terms to anyone who follows what Google is up to these days, but they may not be the most accessible or comprehensible concepts for the masses. And that’s fine — you don’t need to have a firm grasp of machine learning to enjoy better photos or keyboards, for instance.

Still, Google has been quietly showcasing ways for users to get more hands-on with these concepts, and the latest such experiment is a game called Emoji Scavenger Hunt. Here’s how it works: Once you open the game in your mobile browser and tap “Let’s Play,” you’ll be prompted to grant access to your phone’s camera (privacy-minded browsers like Brave or Firefox Focus won’t cooperate).

Once you allow camera access, you’ll see a countdown and hear some cartoonish noises (turn up your volume if you don’t), then you’ll be shown an emoji that you have to find in the real world around you before the timer hits zero. With each emoji you spot IRL, more seconds will be added to the clock.

The experimental game has a few quirks, of course: For one, object identification is far from perfect. In the few rounds I played, false positives were common.

Also, a rather joyless sister of the Google Assistant narrates your hunt for emoji, asking aloud every couple seconds if its identification of the currently visible object is correct. If you stay focused on a single object for the entire duration of a round, it will endlessly ask if what it’s seeing is [object]. Read more from androidpolice.com…

thumbnail courtesy of androidpolice.com