As of this week, Google is making its Google Cultural Institute software available to museums across the globe, giving software developers the tools they need to create simple, but powerful, mobile apps that they can then share with a whole new audience of virtual culture vultures. Excitingly, this software will allow participating museums to open their doors to virtual visitors almost anywhere in the world.
At the time of writing, software developers at eleven museums and other cultural institutions in Nigeria, Italy, France, and the Netherlands have taken Google up on their offer, working alongside technicians and engineers to make apps available for download through the Google Play store.
“The platform allows museums to create a simple but powerful mobile app, based on Google’s technology including Street View and YouTube,” wrote the Google Cultural Institute’s project manager Robert Tansley in a recently published blog post.
He claimed the new technology will help museums develop apps that allow them to share their treasures and enrich visitor experiences, all without running up massive development bills. Every museum exhibit tells a story and, according to Tansley, these mobile apps will make sharing those tales with friends and family easier than ever before. He acknowledged that accessing the internet whilst abroad can be tricky, promising to work alongside software developers to ensure each app works just as well offline as on.
Visitors to the Google Play store can already explore the riches of the near and far East at MAO, enjoy some of the breathtaking artworks at GAM, and “go instantly from the Middle Ages to contemporary photography at Palazzo Madama” thanks to the efforts of software developers in Turin, Italy. It’s not just major institutes that are benefiting, either; street-level artists are showcasing the best of the contemporary art scene with an app of their own.
It’s an exciting new venture, one that shows how app development can enrich peoples’ lives, offering the world more than just simple games and distractions.