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Sunday, December 17, 2017

The art of making Google Art Project (Q&A)

Last week, Google unveiled Art Project, an effort to bring works from 17 of the great museums of the world to a global audience. Last week, Google unveiled Art Project, an effort to bring works from 17 of the great museums of the world to a global audience. Credit: Google

Last week, Google unveiled a Street View-esque project that brings viewers face to face with some of the greatest art on earth.

Known as Google Art Project, the initiative will give users remote access to the priceless paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts from 17 of the world's most famous museums, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, London's National Gallery and Tate Britain, the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and others.

In a blog post announcing the effort, Amit Sood, head of the Google Art Project, explained that users will have initial access to at least 1,000 works from the 17 museums, including one from each institution that will be presented in high-resolution using "'gigapixel' photo-capturing technology."

The project is based, in part, Sood said, on Google's Street View technology.

But Google didn't do this project on its own. Rather, it partnered with a company called Schematic, which helped integrate many of the technologies that together form Google Art Project, and which took on a lot of the heavy lifting in dealing with the various museums. Yesterday, Jason Brush, the executive vice president for user experience at Schematic, sat down for a 45 Minutes on IM interview about the effort, and talked about working with some of the greatest art collections ever put together, about collaborating with Googlers trying to do exciting things with their "20 percent" time, and about the challenges of building a powerful experience around what could be some people's first-ever interaction with some of the most important paintings in history.

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