Google has built tools to explore art since 2011, when it began uploading gigapixel images of classic pieces. The tech titan introduced museum floor plans and walking tour info to Google Maps as well as its Art and Culture app, released last July, to dive deep into collections. Now the search giant is combining all those efforts, adding annotations to famous works seen in Street View to give users on digital tours of museums all the artistic context shown to folks walking around the actual institution.
As the video demonstrates, just pop open Google Maps and navigate to an institution with walking tours to find clearly-marked pieces with uploaded context, along with hyperlinks out for further information. Google used its machine learning systems to visually recognize annotations, but only pieces from participating museums are included, amounting to 15,000 works worldwide. Still, it's bringing remote users that much closer to art they might never witness with their own eyes.