Claim your Google Illustrations this afternoon

How in the world has this not already been a feature for Google accounts on all platforms? Today Google released a new system for profile imagery in Google accounts of all sorts, starting with Gmail. Google Illustrations are a collection of images provided by Google to the public for free to take the place of what'd otherwise be a profile photo.

This sort of imagery system existed from the start with platforms that allowed multiple Profiles for digital content. Take for example Disney+, a streaming media system where each member of a family can have their own profile and profile image. The imagery on that platform consists of a limited set of images from Disney's vast library of intellectual content – from the shows and movies available on the platform.

Microsoft had this sort of pre-set collection of images available for users of the Xbox game console. Profile images went with the user from platform to platform, and since the platform had minors (humans under a certain age) involved, there was no photo capture option even available.

Google's release of "Google Illustrations" this week is a feature that, by all means, should've been in play a decade ago. But with the rise of Google+ came a new hopeful attitude about using one's own face and user data on the internet – launching in June of 2011!

Since then, quite a bit of less-than-positive developments took place, and quite a few people lost a bit of faith in the whole "share your whole life" thing while connected to the web. Fast forward to September of 2021, where Google launches Google Illustrations.

Google describes this system as "bringing customizable illustrations into Gmail that help users get creative with their profile pictures that also protect their privacy." Google also describes the collection as "images that anyone can use to design the image of their choice to represent them across most Google products."

If you'd like to claim one of these Google Illustrations for yourself, your first best bet is to look to Gmail on an Android device. Today (at some point) Google will release an update for Gmail that'll allow the following pathway to work: open Gmail, tap user icon (upper right-hand corner), tap user icon again (now larger in a pop-up window, in the upper left), tap "Add Profile Picture" and bang! You'll have options.