Friday, 28 July 2017

Google Cultural Institute - Research Gem

I recently stumbled across this Quartz article about how Google has created a digital archive of 3000 years of world fashion.

Intrigued, I did some digging and discovered Google's Cultural Institute:

Founded in 2011, the Google Cultural Institute is a not-for-profit initiative that partners with cultural organizations to bring the world's cultural heritage online. We build free tools and technologies for the cultural sector to showcase and share their gems, making them more widely accessible to a global audience.

The mass of information here is frankly stunning. Here's a link that will sink hours and hours of your life away learning about all sorts of cultural things: historic lives, ancient sites, museum collections,...

My favourite feature so far is the ability to use street view to 'walk around' landmarks. Want to tour the international space station, Machu Picchu,  Fontevraud Abbey France,  the Monastery of Saint Mina Egypt, the Colosseum Italy... now you can!

(Maybe I'm an idiot, but it took me a while to figure out why simply clicking the photos didn't do anything. To use the streetview feature, click on the map, then - when you're at the map - drag the little man on the bottom right of the screen to the area with the arrow. It will switch to the 3D view of the building/street/site you've picked.)

Annoyingly, you have to scroll through the site to find what you're looking for. I'd have expected a company with a famous search engine would be able to make something easily searchable. And yes, if you know what you want to see, you can just go to google maps and access the locations that way. Things with 3D view come up with a blue line when you're dragging the man.

Researching - or virtual visiting - is so much easier than it was in the past. It doesn't quite match going in person to see things, but as you can't go everywhere and do everything, it's a good second.

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