A Street Paved With Culture

Google has put its street mapping technology to more high brow use.  Eighteen months in the making, the Art Project allows viewers to visit the great museums and collection of the world from the comfort of their computer chair.

There are17 art museums involved: Altes Nationalgalerie, The Freer Gallery of Art Smithsonian, National Gallery (London), The Frick Collection, Gemäldegalerie, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Museo Reina Sofia, Museo Thyseen – Bornemisza, Museum Kampa, Palace of Versailles, Rijksmuseum, The State Hermitage Museum, State Tretyakov Gallery, Tate, Uffizi and Van Gogh Museum.

This was the result of the company’s 20% policy which encourages its engineers to develop their own projects in Google’s time.

The website features famous artworks in super high resolution of nearly 7 billion pixels and the 360 degree viewing makes for a memorable experience.  As Google says “enabling the viewer to study details of the brushwork and patina beyond that possible with the naked eye.”

The curator inside of each of us is catered for as viewers are able to ‘build’ their own collection, create and share comments about any of the 1,000+ works on view.

YouTube videos and the 360 degree museum tours that display up on Google Maps complement the in-gallery presentation.

And from the sublime to the ridiculous – ever fancied walking from the USA to China?

Another Google application makes this virtually possible if not physically so. Go to Google Maps and ‘Get Directions’.

Type ‘USA’ into Box A and ‘China”‘ into box B. Click the walking man icon at the top and then the ‘Get Directions’ tab.

1,762 instructions later you will find yourself safely in China, although do note that the route includes a ferry trip, toll roads and restricted usage or private roads.

It will take you 148 days and 22 hours to accomplish this feat and you will have travelled 11,321 miles in doing so.

As the late Mr Ripley would say “Believe it or Not”.

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is an international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region. http://thedigitalconsultant.blogspot.com
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