Google's AutoDraw is the perfect way to waste your lunch hour

Doodle-guessing AI makes sheep memes a cinch

I’m perfectly good at doodling with Microsoft Paint, thanks.

Aren’t we all? It’s all about that destructive editing. One mistake and - bam! - all of your careful paintbrush work is ruined. Anyway, we’re not here to talk about Paint. We’re here to talk about drawing a raggedy outline and letting Google guess that you were trying to draw a sheep.

Why a sheep?

Well, it can actually be pretty much anything. Try a sheep. Then an aeroplane. Then a cup. Google’s AI-equipped AutoDraw is a clever canvas that constantly tries to figure out what you’re sketching, before offering up suggestions to save you the time of having to actually, you know, draw it.

So it can guess anything and everything?

Like the best of us, it seems to have its limits. It couldn’t figure out my excellent scribble of a Formula 1 car, for example, and it thought my rocket was a parrot - but it’s generally decent at getting things right. And, even when it’s not, it’s pretty fun to watch Google guess. You're also limited to Google’s outlines (you can’t edit the car shape, for example) but it’s speedy nonetheless.

Sounds like this is just a plaything.

Hey, a really smart plaything! In any case, if you’re the sort that has to rapidly bash out doodles and drawings for a living, this could be a godsend. Just think how your meme-generation rate will be improved with Google on your side.

Is it actually useful for anything, though?

Well, it has the full suite of tools you’d expect from a basic editor, including moveable and resizable shapes, fill tools, text and colours - as well as the option to download your co-creations.

As for the tech behind it, every time you doodle something and Google gets it right (because you picked something it suggested) you’ve helped the search giant learn a little more - and take one step closer to robo-domination. Well done you.