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How does the website Akinator work?

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Quick Answer

Akinator uses the program Limule published by Elokence.com. However, it uses an original algorithm that the creator is reluctant to divulge. Akinator frequently asks people to upload the names and portraits of unknown characters, causing speculation that it maintains a large, constantly evolving database of characters and descriptions.

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Full Answer

Akinator the Web Genie went viral in 2013, promising to guess any character, fictional or real, within 20 questions. Akinator only accepts public characters, preventing people from uploading images of their friends, family and neighbors. It combines artificial intelligence with crowdsourcing to narrow down its character database.

If Akinator guesses the correct answer before the question limit is reached, the answer is automatically presented. Akinator gives itself three chances to guess correctly. It uses a tree match algorithm, though the specifics are unknown.

Akinator was created in 2007 by a trio of French programmers. In 2010, a mobile app version was released. It became one of the highest-rated apps available, reaching popularity with European and Japanese audiences. Reviews of Akinator from 2009 were positive, with the magazine "Excite France" calling it revolutionary. In 2011, Akinator was featured in an article of The Washington Post, detailing the journalist's attempt to stump the web genie.

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