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The Google Cultural Institute (GCI) has updated its Google  website and app to allow users to browse the history and view panoramic imagery of historical sites like the Nalanda University. Additionally the company has added features like scrolling through art using a timeline and browsing painting based on color.

Users will now also be able to use VR headsets like Google Cardboard to take a virtual tour of the Sanskriti Museum, which hosts a collection of Indian arts and crafts. The platform also launched a YouTube channel which will list original content relevant to cultural topics, created by various YouTubers.

Other than this the platform will display the opening times of a museum, monument or location to find out what’s on that day and navigate to there. Finally Google also added an Art Recognizer feature (currently works in museums in London, Sydney and Washington DC), which will help users recognize paintings and find online information about it by scanning paintings using the phone camera. The company mentions that it will add this feature to other museums, including in India, although it provides no timeline.

GCI partnership with Indian Museum

In May this year, the GCI added 360-degree panoramic format images of artifacts, historical paintings and sculptures from within the galleries of Indian Museum. The company said then that all of the 35 physical galleries across categories like Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, etc. from the Indian Museum in Kolkata will be digitized under the GCI project.

GCI partnership with National Museum

In August last year, the GCI added over 2,000 new images and 70 virtual exhibits from India, in partnership with the National Museum. At that time, GCI said that it will be digitizing material from 10 other partner institutions, namely the Salar Jung Museum, Victoria Memorial Hall Kolkata, Dastkari Haat Samiti, Devi Art Foundation, among others.

The GCI project from Google helps digitize historical exhibits, collections, galleries from museums all over the world and display it online in a viewable format. It was launched globally in 2011 and in India in 2012, by initially partnering with the National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi. Currently, GCI works with more than 18 Indian institutions.

Other developments:

– In March this year, Google added panoramic views of 31 monuments and Indian archaeological sites on Google Maps and the Google Cultural Institute. The ASI had launched a national portal for museums. Collections in all museums under its control and those under the ASI would be digitized and presented on this portal.

– In August last year, Google India extended its partnership with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) by adding 360-degree panoramic images of 76 new heritage sites to Google Maps. Additionally, 30 exhibitions of arts and historical institutions and over 1400 cultural objects from India could be viewed via the Google Cultural Institute.

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