Google’s Quickdraw AI Experiment is powered by 1 billion doodles

Google are a crazy company that do crazy things, but their Quickdraw AI game is a incredibly friendly way to show off the power of AI and machine learning to everday people, while getting developers excited about the possibilities.

The project comes was developed by Google staff, including Jonas Jonjegan (web developer) and Henry Rowley (machine learning researcher) who explain the game works by interpreting what you draw using machine learning. As you add detail to the picture, the algorithm’s confidence in what you have drawn grows by analysing not just what you’ve drawn, but in what order and how you’ve added strokes to the image. This data is compared to a massive dataset and analysed for how much it matches your drawing. The impressive part is that its being done live, not a result returned after hours of crunching.

The project launched back in 2016 and since then people have drawn a massive 1 billion doodles, including thousands of dogs. Those paying attention will notice the URL structure and see it ends in /data/dog which means you can see basically any drawing by exchanging your word of choice at the end of the address. Try, cat, fish, bird, house for example, or read the full list here.

For those developer types who want to go deeper, make sure you check out the GitHub project site. This contains a dataset of 50 million (while not the billion, its still pretty massive), across 345 categories and features the raw moderated (adult categories not allowed), the preprocessed dataset and a list of the projects already using the dataset.

Thankfully Google has licenced the works under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. This is just one in a series of AI experiments from Google, the rest can be found at

Creative and artistic projects

Data analyses

Code and tools

For the best explanation on how it works, check out the explainer video below, then go to and try it for yourself.

Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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