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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Google Arts & Culture Lets You Crowdsource Art History

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Displaying a photo slideshow on a computer just isn’t the same as going to a fancy-schmancy gallery. But there are other ways to reflect on the past or imagine the future. In their new app, Google Arts & Culture lets you trawl through paintings, photographs and other artwork from the company’s vast cultural archive — and annotate everything with comments and suggestions.

The app can be personalized, and each album offers specific suggestions of albums. A slew of apps, including Smart Notes, Evernote, Apple’s Siri and more, let you jot down thoughts on your iOS devices, but Google Arts & Culture goes further with its limited context: it catalogs an entire collection of art, and you can interact with it in a meaningful way (imagine that you are visually activating everything you see, from the food and dress worn by your ancestors to famous paintings like Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”) This is the real impetus behind the app: people never get to see or interact with the pieces they own, and Google has noticed a reason why people are continually searching on their phones for information.

“We keep seeing increased volumes of people using the Arts & Culture app. We’re seeing people use it to browse through different pieces and then interact with them using the added annotation features,” Todd Whitman, group product manager for Google, told the Times. The company is already working on other services in the future that will let you see and comment on all the art you find on Google.

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