For the company that took the mind-blowing expanse of the Internet and filtered it into manageable categories (and primary colors), the next stop is the art world. On Tuesday, Google launched its Art Project, which lets online users tour 16 museums worldwide, including three in New York: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection.
Using the same technology that allows Internauts to peer to street-level on applications like Google Maps—that technology has also riled up German privacy advocates—online visitors can now tour museums like St. Petersburg's Hermitage, Florence's Uffizi or the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
Lauren Cornell works with art and the internet at the not-for-profit Website, Rhizome. She says that engagement with the Internet is vital to the growth and survival of all museums, though it may be a challenge for contemporary art. "It's more challenging for street-view technology to capture performance, media, film, video or installation art, but this I think would be an exciting direction for Google Art Project to move in," she said.
Although she supports the project, Cornell adds that nothing can replace the real feeling of walking through the halls of famed arts institutions. "It may pique people's interest by offering them the ability to view defining works in the museum's collection," she said. "It will give you a sense of the galleries but not the feeling of the real thing."
Watch this video to head behind the scenes. Then let us know what you think of the project by leaving a comment below.