Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, and increasingly the beholder is on the Web. Knowing that, Google has partnered with more than 150 art museums across the world during the past two years to create the Google Art Project--a visual experience that holds more than 30,000 works of art. The program now takes advantage of Hangouts, the group video-chat feature built into Google Plus, the company's social media service.
Piotr Adamczyk, data lead for the Google Art Project, demonstrated a little bit of how the site works--including its use of Google Street View to tour the actual inside of a museum--and to show off the collaborative benefits when used with Google Plus Hangouts. You can watch this demonstration, and hear more about the project (its gigapixel images can render brush strokes in zoom mode) in the video embedded below.
The idea behind enabling a collaborative video experience begins, of course, with taking a tour of art or a museum, perhaps with a curator as your guide. But anyone could take a group of friends--or students--on a tour of illustrious artwork. A museum could stream an actual tour to Hangout participants. You could also imagine Google Art Project as a good way to bring students or classrooms together around art.
While Google Art Project is part of Google's Cultural Institute, and thus largely a philanthropic endeavor, it is also clearly using the Google Plus Hangout feature to demonstrate other potential uses of its social media service.
Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.
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