100 years on: explore Ireland’s Easter Rising with Google

Editor’s note: To mark the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, we have launched ‘Dublin Rising 1916-2016’, an interactive Google Street View tour which lets visitors virtually explore the city streets, events and people that shaped history 100 years ago. We’ve invited the Irish Minister for Arts and Heritage Heather Humphreys TD to write a guest post for the Google Europe blog, explaining the partnership.

In 2016 Irish people at home and abroad will mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, when Irish people fought for their right to self governance. The Rising had a transformative impact and is recognised as the catalyst that ultimately led to the modern Ireland we have today.

The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme includes more than 2,000 events in Ireland and another 1,000 internationally. Throughout we will remember our shared history on the island of Ireland; reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and look ambitiously to our future.

In Dublin Rising 1916-2016, which has been launched by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland Enda Kenny, TD, today, Google is using its technologies to creatively enable millions of people around the world to share in Ireland’s 2016 commemorations and learn more about the events of 1916 right from their phone, tablet or computer.

This interactive Google Street View tour will allow visitors to virtually explore the city streets, events and people who shaped history 100 years ago. The tour, which is narrated by actor Colin Farrell, will bring visitors on a virtual tour around the Dublin of today, with the Dublin of 1916 overlaid.

Throughout the tour, visitors can stop at city centre locations in Dublin as they are today, hear what happened there and click to explore photos, videos and witness statements from the people of 1916. As a person stands looking at the General Post Office of today, for example, they’ll be able to see the General Post Office as it was 100 years ago, destroyed by shell fire. They’ll hear witness statements from rebels who fought there and hear the stories of all the different people involved.

President Michael D. Higgins recently said that the centenary offers all of us an opportunity to reflect on events of the past, so that we can build a future that honours the promise of equality and inclusiveness contained in the 1916 Proclamation. I want to thank the Google team, together with the historians and experts from Ireland 2016 and Century Ireland who through Dublin Rising 1916-2016 have made our history accessible and are providing everyone with the opportunity to remember our past while celebrating our present and looking forward to the future.

You can explore Dublin Rising 1916-2016 here: https://dublinrising.withgoogle.com/

Posted by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD Continua a leggere

The British Museum: a museum for the world

Editor’s note: The Google Cultural Institute creates technologies that make the world’s culture accessible to anyone, anywhere. This week, we announced a new partnership with the British Museum that gives people new ways to access and experience the museum, and new ways to learn and teach. We’ve invited Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum since August 2002, to write a guest post for the Google Europe blog, explaining the partnership.

The British Museum was founded in 1753 by an act of Parliament and is the embodiment of Enlightenment idealism. In a revolutionary move, it was from its inception designed to be the collection of every citizen of the world, not a royal possession and not controlled by the state.

Over the succeeding 260 plus years it has gathered and exhibited things from all over the globe – antiquities, coins, sculptures, drawings – and made them freely available to anyone who was able to come and see them. Millions have visited and learned, and have been inspired by what they saw. Today the Museum is probably the most comprehensive survey of the material culture of humanity in existence.

The world today has changed; the way we access information has been revolutionised by digital technology. Sharing knowledge has become easier and we can do extraordinary things with technology which enable us to give new reality to the Enlightenment ideal on which the Museum was founded. It is now possible to make our collection accessible, explorable and enjoyable not just for those who physically visit, but for everybody with a computer or a mobile device.

Yesterday, we announced a partnership with Google that allows us to further our own – extraordinary – mission: to be a Museum of and for the World, making the knowledge and culture of the whole of humanity open and available to all. This isn’t just about putting the collection ‘online’. Through our partnership with Google, we hope to give people new ways to experience and enjoy the Museum, new ways to learn, new ways to share and new ways to teach.

Thousands of objects from the Museum’s collection will be available to view through the Google Cultural Institute and through a special, dedicated site called ‘The Museum of the World’, which will allow users to explore and make connections between the world’s cultures.

One of the Museum’s most important objects, the Admonitions Scroll, a Chinese scroll dating from the 6th century, has been captured in super high-resolution to give you a closer and more intimate view than you could ever get with the naked eye.

We’ve captured the whole Museum via Street View, meaning that if you can’t get to the Museum in person, you can take a virtual walking tour of every permanent gallery, and its outdoor buildings.

And virtual exhibits allow you to see Celtic objects from across UK museums brought together in a unique tour or a thematic exhibition detailing Egypt’s history after the pharaohs.

None of this is to deny the power of seeing an object in the flesh in a gallery – nothing will replace that experience. But it does allow a far greater public access to the Museum and its unparalleled collection.

And this is just the beginning. We’re in a brave new world of information dissemination. As we are transformed by globalisation, it is more important than ever to understand the past of the whole world. The breadth of the British Museum’s collection, the authority of the Museum’s scholarship and the skill with which it is presented and mediated: all these are now ready and available for anyone anywhere on the planet.

The more we can work with partners in the technology sphere, and the more we rise to the challenge of making our world a digital one, the greater will be our impact on community cohesion and understanding, domestically and internationally. Through technology, the Museum’s collection can become the private collection of the entire world. And so our great Enlightenment vision moves into a phase our founders in the 18th century couldn’t even have dreamed of.

Posted by Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum Continua a leggere

The British Museum: a museum for the world

Editor’s note: The Google Cultural Institute creates technologies that make the world’s culture accessible to anyone, anywhere. This week, we announced a new partnership with the British Museum that gives people new ways to access and experience the museum, and new ways to learn and teach. We’ve invited Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum since August 2002, to write a guest post for the Google Europe blog, explaining the partnership.

The British Museum was founded in 1753 by an act of Parliament and is the embodiment of Enlightenment idealism. In a revolutionary move, it was from its inception designed to be the collection of every citizen of the world, not a royal possession and not controlled by the state.

Over the succeeding 260 plus years it has gathered and exhibited things from all over the globe – antiquities, coins, sculptures, drawings – and made them freely available to anyone who was able to come and see them. Millions have visited and learned, and have been inspired by what they saw. Today the Museum is probably the most comprehensive survey of the material culture of humanity in existence.

The world today has changed; the way we access information has been revolutionised by digital technology. Sharing knowledge has become easier and we can do extraordinary things with technology which enable us to give new reality to the Enlightenment ideal on which the Museum was founded. It is now possible to make our collection accessible, explorable and enjoyable not just for those who physically visit, but for everybody with a computer or a mobile device.

Yesterday, we announced a partnership with Google that allows us to further our own – extraordinary – mission: to be a Museum of and for the World, making the knowledge and culture of the whole of humanity open and available to all. This isn’t just about putting the collection ‘online’. Through our partnership with Google, we hope to give people new ways to experience and enjoy the Museum, new ways to learn, new ways to share and new ways to teach.

Thousands of objects from the Museum’s collection will be available to view through the Google Cultural Institute and through a special, dedicated site called ‘The Museum of the World’, which will allow users to explore and make connections between the world’s cultures.

One of the Museum’s most important objects, the Admonitions Scroll, a Chinese scroll dating from the 6th century, has been captured in super high-resolution to give you a closer and more intimate view than you could ever get with the naked eye.

We’ve captured the whole Museum via Street View, meaning that if you can’t get to the Museum in person, you can take a virtual walking tour of every permanent gallery, and its outdoor buildings.

And virtual exhibits allow you to see Celtic objects from across UK museums brought together in a unique tour or a thematic exhibition detailing Egypt’s history after the pharaohs.

None of this is to deny the power of seeing an object in the flesh in a gallery – nothing will replace that experience. But it does allow a far greater public access to the Museum and its unparalleled collection.

And this is just the beginning. We’re in a brave new world of information dissemination. As we are transformed by globalisation, it is more important than ever to understand the past of the whole world. The breadth of the British Museum’s collection, the authority of the Museum’s scholarship and the skill with which it is presented and mediated: all these are now ready and available for anyone anywhere on the planet.

The more we can work with partners in the technology sphere, and the more we rise to the challenge of making our world a digital one, the greater will be our impact on community cohesion and understanding, domestically and internationally. Through technology, the Museum’s collection can become the private collection of the entire world. And so our great Enlightenment vision moves into a phase our founders in the 18th century couldn’t even have dreamed of.

Posted by Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum Continua a leggere

View the “Chopin Olympics” on YouTube and the Google Cultural Institute

If you’re a piano afficionado, then you’re quite possibly also a fan of the great Polish piano virtuoso and composer Fryderyk Chopin. And if that’s you, you’re in luck: starting today, 78 of the world’s greatest pianists and new talents from 29 countries are gathering in Poland for the “Chopin Olympics”, more properly known as the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition.

This year, Google is the official partner of the competition, which runs throughout October. For the first time, you can watch all the performances on YouTube, including livestreaming of some of the concerts. And you can delve deep into the history of the competition and into Fryderyk Chopin’s history via two new online exhibitions on the Google Cultural Institute.

The Chopin Piano Competition started in 1927 and is one of few competitions in the world devoted entirely to the works of a single composer. Winners of the past editions became one of the greatest pianists in the world like Argentinian Martha Argerich or Polish Rafal Blechacz. Visit the Institute’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/chopin2015, to watch more than 120 hours of performances, interviews with pianists, behind the scenes footage, and the Grand Finale concerts held from 18th to 20th October.

And on the Google Cultural Institute you can also view two new exhibitions, curated by the Polish National Fryderyk Chopin Institute. The first exhibition draws on an archive of more than 200 rare documents to guide you through the fascinating life of the child prodigy who developed into one of the Romantic era’s truly international superstars, before meeting an untimely death at the age of 39.

The Institute’s second exhibition provides an immersive, multimedia overview of Chopin’s piano music and the historic competition from 1927 to the present day. It unveils hidden stories, personal letters, original manuscript compositions, and great background footage about the early competition performances and the jury’s secret decisions.

The cherry on the cake for serious music lovers is a unique gigapixel image of a rare original composition penned by Chopin in 1833, entitled Fantasy-Impromptu in C sharp minor. The imagery is so sharp that you can examine every handwritten note, annotation and correction in minute detail:

Detail of gigapixel image of Fantaisie-Impromptu cis-moll [Opus 66] (1833 – 1834), Fryderyk Chopin’s autograph composition dated 1835 (collection: Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina)

We hope you’ll tune in to the Chopin Institute YouTube channel for some awe-inspiring performances – and that you’ll be inspired by the exhibits. Oh, and… best of luck to all the competitors!

Posted by Agata Wacławik-Wejman, Head of Public Policy, Central & Eastern Europe Continua a leggere

What makes us Human?

Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog

Over the past three years, filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand travelled to 60 countries, interviewing more than 2,000 people in dozens of languages, in an attempt to answer the question: What is it that makes us human? The result is HUMAN, a documentary film that weaves together a rich collection of stories from freedom fighters in Ukraine, farmers in Mali, death row inmates in the United States, and more—on topics that unite us all: love, justice, family, and the future of our planet.

Now we’re partnering with Arthus-Bertrand, the Goodplanet Foundation and Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, to bring HUMAN to you on Google Play, YouTube and the Google Cultural Institute so we can share this project with the widest audience throughout the world.

Watch an extended version of the film on YouTube and Google Play
We’re making HUMAN available on YouTube starting September 12, and later on Google Play. This “director’s cut”of three 90-minute films will be available in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. On YouTube, you can also watch extra footage including interviews with figures like United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, animal rights activist Jane Goodall and actress Cameron Diaz, all of whom participated in the film.

Explore HUMAN with the Google Cultural Institute
Over at the Google Cultural Institute, you can learn about the origin of the film and listen to anecdotes from the people who brought it to life. You can also meet the characters in and around the movie in their daily lives, with six exhibits of behind the scenes photos and videos that let you explore how HUMAN was made over three years. This includes a collection highlighting how the director shot the aerial views that are a signature of Arthus-Bertrand’s filmmaking.

Exhibitions on Google the Cultural Institute platform

Learn more about this project at g.co/humanthemovie or on the HUMAN Behind The Scenes mobile app, available on Google Play. With HUMAN, we want to help citizens around the world connect together. So we’d like to hear your answer to the question of what makes us human. Add your voice to the conversation with #WhatMakesUsHUMAN.

Posted by Raphael Goumain, Head of Consumer Marketing, France Continua a leggere

Forget Middle Earth—Central and Eastern Europe’s salt mines, ice caves, mountains and castles are now on Street View

Throughout history, Europe has been a hotbed of culture, imagination and natural beauty. At Google we’re keen to share these elements with the world through our maps, so over recent months we’ve been taking all manner of Street View technologies—Trekkers, Trolleys and tripods—to capture some incredible places across the continent, focusing this time on Central and Eastern Europe. Here are a few highlights for you to explore:

Hungary
Floating down the Danube river in summertime is a wonderful thing. But now you can also check out some of Hungary’s hidden gems in Google Maps. Take a look inside the National Theatre of Pécs and explore the beautiful Basilica of Eger, the second largest church in the country. In the capital, Budapest, you can walk among the trees and rose bushes in the little-known but spectacular botanical garden near the centre of town, or even climb a hill to get away from it all.

The magnificent National Theatre of Pec, Hungary

Czech Republic
If you’re lucky enough to have been to Prague, you may have seen the fairytale sight of Prague Castle from the medieval Charles Bridge. They’re too good to miss, so we added these sites and almost 30 others in Czech Republic to Street View including the gardens of the Prague Castle, Prague’s historic center, interiors of castles such as Cesky Krumlov and Spilberk, and beauty spots like Ceske Svycarsko and Krkonose National Park.

The interior of the Cesky Krumlov Castle, Czech Republic

Slovakia
In Slovakia, we’ve just released images of heritage sites like this wooden protestant church in Kezmarok and national parks like Velka Fatra and Pieniny. To get a feel for the history of the country, why not check out Branc Castle or Draskovic Castle in Cachtice? From the high turrets and battlements of the castles, you can then take a trip below ground and visit Dobsinska Ice Cave and Ochtinska Aragonite Cave which we added last year.

The church in Kezmarok

Romania
And finally, sink 100 meters deep into one of the most breathtaking places beneath the earth: the Turda Salt Mine, in Cluj County, Romania. Tourists around the world can take a tour of the mine—which is more than 200 years old—with our high-resolution imagery, from the comfort of their homes.

Turda Salt Mine, Romania

We hope you enjoy discovering some of the delights of Europe as much as we did.

Posted by Magdalena Filak, Street View team Continua a leggere

Celebrating Europe’s creativity – on YouTube

It’s hard to believe it’s been just 10 years since the founders of YouTube recorded a grainy video in front of an elephant enclosure — and subsequently changed the world. The video itself was unremarkable, but their idea was powerfully simple: broadcast yourself.

Ten years on, the site is used by everyone from lifestyle bloggers to renowned chefs and everyone in between. People use it to share events in real time, and to open up a treasure trove of historic films to the world. YouTube became a platform for ideas, culture and talent from all across Europe too.

A decade of sharing European creativity is definitely something worth celebrating – and that’s what we did last night, at Bozar, the Centre for Fine Arts, in Brussels. If you missed Les Twins on stage last night, you can see them in action here. Larry and Laurent Bourgeois are identical twins from Sarcelles, France. A single video on YouTube took them from the suburbs of Paris to international stardom, touring with Beyoncé and Cirque du Soleil. They have more than 12 million views on their YouTube channel.

Les Twins from France demonstrated their talents at Europe on Stage

From up and coming young musicians to world-leading European cultural institutions such as Madrid’s Prado Museum or the Berlin Philharmonic, thousands of creators are reaching new audiences online with their videos.

To celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, the Eurovision Song Contest streamed its shows live on YouTube, globally, for the first time. We think that’s worth twelve points :-) — and so do almost 100 European TV channels who have partnered with YouTube to find new fans all over the planet.

Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and around a quarter of that time is spent watching videos made by European creators. There are hundreds of YouTube channels across the European Union that make six-figure sums a year by allowing adverts to be shown next to their content – and our partner revenue increased by over 50% per year for each of the last years

Google’s Matt Brittin said that YouTube is a growth engine for European creativity and culture.

Europe has helped make YouTube what it is today and we can’t wait to see what it has to share with the world in the next 10 years.

Posted by Richard Schuster, YouTube Continua a leggere

Add some art to your browser for International Museum Day

Today is International Museum Day and it’s been four years since we launched Google Art Project. Since then we’ve worked closely with hundreds of museums and partners around the world to bring art online while supporting their mission to encourage cultural exchange across the globe.

A great way to celebrate this special day with us is to download the Google Art Project Chrome extension. Launched a few weeks ago, this extension allows you to discover a work of art from our partners each time you open a new browser tab.

Whether browsing from home or the office, you’ll see masterpieces ranging from Van Gogh’s Landscape at Saint-Rémy and João Baptista de Costa’s Gruta Azul, all the way to contemporary works from street artists around the world. With the Google Art Project Chrome extension, you can turn each new tab into a journey through the world’s cultural heritage.

To learn more about the artwork, the artist or the museum showcased in your browser, just click on the lower left hand corner of the image to explore it on the Google Cultural Institute platform. Happy browsing!

Posted by Duncan Osborn, Product Manager, Google Cultural Institute Continua a leggere

70 years on: remembering the end of World War II

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. As time passes, and memories fade, it’s important to remember both the sacrifices made and the remarkable stories of the period. That’s why the Google Cultural Institute has partnered with twenty-seven museums and institutions around the world to bring more than 1400 rare and important world war-related artifacts online.

Each of our partner institutions is a custodian of vital national heritage, preserving important stories and artifacts from the war years. Now, using tools provided by the Google Cultural Institute, expert curators have brought to life a wide range of remarkable and inspiring online exhibitions that demonstrate the bravery, ingenuity and sacrifice of those who fought – and those whose lives were changed forever by the war.

The Dutch Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei has curated an online exhibition of 100 objects from the War. Among them is a radio, hidden in a briefcase; members of the Dutch resistance used these devices to maintain contact with Britain during the War.

Image from the online exhibition entitled The Second World War in 100 Items

From the US National Archives’ online exhibition, World War II Looted Art: Turning History into Justice, we have rare photographs of the real Monuments Men and the masterpieces they rescued during the War

Image from the online exhibition entitled World War II Looted Art: Turning History Into Justice

The Warsaw Rising Museum has created an online exhibition with photographs of the Warsaw Uprising, taken by five photojournalists secretly trained by the Polish Underground State:

Image from the online exhibition entitled Photographs from the Warsaw Uprising

The World War II channel on the Cultural Institute includes many more rare images and stories, including German propaganda posters and photographs of the reconstruction of Manila after the War in the Pacific region.

We hope you’ll take a moment to step back in time to discover, learn and #RememberWW2 at google.com/culturalinstitute/project/second-world-war.

Posted by Kate Lauterbach, Google Cultural Institute Continua a leggere

Mapping the sneakernet

In March, internet researcher and designer An Xiao Mina published a fascinating piece on The New Inquiry about “the sneakernet,” a concept that addresses the nuances of connectivity and the myriad social methods through which people exchange culture, access, and information. In the article, she shares an anecdote from a research trip to Northern Uganda, a region where residents had no access to the electric grid or running water and access to 3G internet was limited by both availability and affordability. She writes:

At night, residents turn on their radios, and those who can afford Chinese feature phones play mp3s. One day, I heard familiar lyrics:

Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here’s my number
So call me maybe

I turned my head. A number of young people gathered around a woman rocking out to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” a song that owes so much of its success to the viral power of YouTube and Justin Bieber. The phone’s owner wasn’t accessing it via the Internet. Rather, she had an mp3 acquired through a Bluetooth transfer with a friend.

Indeed, the song was just one of many media files I saw on people’s phones: There were Chinese kung fu movies, Nigerian comedies, and Ugandan pop music. They were physically transferred, phone to phone, Bluetooth to Bluetooth, USB stick to USB stick, over hundreds of miles by an informal sneakernet of entertainment media downloaded from the Internet or burned from DVDs, bringing media that;s popular in video halls—basically, small theaters for watching DVDs—to their own villages and huts.

In geographic distribution charts of Carly Rae Jepsen’s virality, you’d be hard pressed to find impressions from this part of the world. Nor is this sneakernet practice unique to the region. On the other end of continent, in Mali, music researcher Christopher Kirkley has documented a music trade using Bluetooth transfers that is similar to what I saw in northern Uganda. These forms of data transfer and access, though quite common, are invisible to traditional measures of connectivity and Big Data research methods. Like millions around the world with direct internet connections, young people in “unconnected” regions are participating in the great viral products of the Internet, consuming mass media files and generating and transferring their own media.

What does this have to do with public policy? At the end of the piece, An explains how understanding connectivity as a spectrum, rather than a binary, can inform policies and strategies for outreach and access. To illustrate this, she uses a vivid water analogy:

Like water, the Internet is vast, familiar and seemingly ubiquitous but with extremes of unequal access. Some people have clean, unfettered and flowing data from invisible but reliable sources. Many more experience polluted and flaky sources, and they have to combine patience and filters to get the right set of data they need. Others must hike dozens of miles of paved and dirt roads to access the Internet like water from a well, ferrying it back in fits and spurts when the opportunity arises. And yet more get trickles of data here and there from friends and family, in the form of printouts, a song played on a phone’s speaker, an interesting status update from Facebook relayed orally, a radio station that features stories from the Internet.

Like water from a river, data from the Internet can be scooped up and irrigated and splashed around in novel ways. Whether it’s north of the Nile in Uganda or south of Market St. in the Bay Area, policies and strategies for connecting the “unconnected” should take into account the vast spectrum of ways that people find and access data. Packets of information can be distributed via SMS and mobile 3G but also pieces of paper, USB sticks and Bluetooth. Solar-powered computer kiosks in rural areas can have simple capabilities for connecting to mobile phones’ SD cards for upload and download. Technology training courses can start with a more nuanced base level of understanding, rather than assuming zero knowledge of the basics of computing and network transfer. These are broad strokes, of course; the specifics of motivation and methods are complex and need to be studied carefully in any given instance. But the very channels that ferry entertainment media can also ferry health care information, educational material and anything else in compact enough form.

An Xiao Mina is a product owner at Meedan and an internet researcher with The Civic Beat.

Continua a leggere