Google Offers Virtual Gallery Tours

February 1, 2011

Richard Gonzales

Internet giant Google unveiled a new website that allows virtual tours of some of the world's most famous art galleries.

The Google Art Project is the brainchild of employee Amit Sood, who created the site during time allotted by his employer for personal initiatives.

He says the tours are made possible using Google's Street View Technology.

"We have over 1,000 artworks from these 17 museums, over 400 rooms that have been captured on Street View and over 385 artists," Sood says.

Video cameras mounted on trolleys recorded 360 degree images of selected galleries.

Each of the museums allowed one artwork to be photographed with extremely high resolution "gigapixel" technology.

Sood says for example: "The Ambassadors" from the National Gallery. You have "No Woman, No Cry" from the Tate. And many more. You can actually get into details that are not visible to the naked eye using this technology."

Among the galleries featured on the website are the Palace of Versailles in France, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.