Reactions to Google Art Project

Wow! This is what I call NEWS! Today Google launched a new service called ‘Google Art Project’. Using Street View technology it enables visitors to pay a vivid visit to some of the worlds’ most famous cultural institutions.

As explained on the FAQ of the site, for now the following museums are included in the project:

* Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
* Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
* The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
* Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
* The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
* MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
* Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
* Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
* Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
* National Gallery, London – UK
* Palace of Versailles – France
* Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
* The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
* State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
* Tate Britain, London – UK
* Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
* Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands

Taken a quick scan of the first reactions on twitter (#googleartproject) and elsewhere, people seem to be amazed and excited about Google’s new project. So far I have only read some doubts on the site of the Telegraph.

Some elements that immediately caught my attention:

1. You can create your own collection (based on your favorites) and share it. You only need your Google account. The feature looks interesting, simple and easy. In other words: well done!

2. The quality of the pictures is amazing. Take this portrait of Marie Antoinette plus children at the palace of Versailles, France.

3. Officially, the copyright remains at the side of the participating institutions….

I wonder though what this means for I understand the point of view of the institutions that also (can) participate in Europeana. They wish to be visible to as many people as possible. Obviously Google is a great help in expanding one’s reach. But how will the European Commission react? What are the USPs of Europeana versus Google’s new initiative?

More information:

‘World’s museums go online with Google Street View’ (AFP)

‘The problem with Google’s Art Project‘ (Telegraph)

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