Fun fact: Google has enhanced its online arts and culture website, which allows you to explore museum collections from around the world. Well, I think it’s a fun fact. Why? I mentioned this in my article about Google Earth about a month ago. But Google is bringing the world to you. Rather than having to physically travel yourself, you can experience some amazing things from your own home. As someone who isn’t well versed in the world of art, this is a pretty appealing website for me. The enhancement is the fact that you can use the site in concert with Google Maps.
Part of the reason for my ignorance could be that I don’t know where to start. I’m not saying I don’t know anything. Nor am I saying that I don’t find it interesting. But like trying to understand wine, I find art as equally confusing. That being said, Google has provided the tools for viewers like me to be able to understand the art world in a more manageable way. Yes, I could go to a specific museum website and see what collections they have to view, but again, it doesn’t help me explore what I think might be interesting. Google does that, or at least it does for me. For example – today’s daily digest points to the fact that today, June 1 would have been Marilyn Monroe’s 91st birthday. When you click on that link, it takes you to another page that gives you some background on her life.
So for someone like me, the website provides a bit of a baseline when it comes to art. But the updated features bring you to a whole new level. If you know of an artist that you like, you can search for them and then scroll through the museum where that artist’s work is located. From there you can also view a collection of works, and even zoom through individual pieces. Pretty cool, right? Similar to the feature recently added to Google Earth, you’re now able to “tour” these museums and works of art. Something that you might not have been able to do previously.
Google has also updated Street View with museum guides, which allow you to take a tour of the actual museum by using Google Maps. Next to each work of art is information on that particular piece. In addition, you will be able to find further information on the art work. The limitation, however, is that Google was only able to scan museums that agreed to participate. Which isn’t that bad, after all. They have access to 15,000 works of art. With more to be added, I’m sure.
Google rolled out these new features, it says because it sees over 500 million searches per month related to art. The entire website is pretty cool even without these enhanced features. For a novice like myself the website lets me search by artist or time period, and even colour. Which I find really interesting, as that’s not typically a search filter that one would use. Maybe in the art world it is, but you can click on any colour that you like, or are interested in, and all the artwork featuring that colour is presented to you on the page.
There are other sites out there that let you explore art in a similar way, but I like that Google has put it all together. I like the ease and simplicity of the website. Google is a search engine after all, so it only makes sense that it would let you search art in this way. I also like the way that Google has integrated this with Maps. You don’t necessarily need to know about the art you’re looking for, but rather just need to search for a museum to find a collection. As per usual, I love the way that Google is bringing the world to your front door. I love the way they are integrated technology (and in this case, artificial intelligence) to enhance our lives and educate the masses.