Open Culture 2011 – Google Art Project

Laura Scott – Head of External Relations from Google UK

Art Project ( – v ambitious for Google – making art and information relating to art more accessible to people everywhere in the world. Google new to ‘arts’ – but have committment.

Google 20% time – if you have a great an idea, you can spend up to 20% time on that – e.g. Google Mail big success – but failure also embraced. Failure does cost – Google may well be able to take financial risk, but when things fail media will pick up on this…

Encourage experimentation – small things as many previous speakers have mentioned.

Partnerships are crucial for Google – Art project had partnerships with 9(?) galleries across the world.

Google not a curator – doesn’t want to be – wanted to make art immediately accessible – possible to ‘jump right in’ – but no sense in which mean to replace physical visit – and evidence so far this is not the case at all. Each museum chose one image to do in v v high resolution – can zoom in to very high levels – example of ‘The Harvesters’ from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Example of ‘No Woman, No Cry’ from Tate Britain – again v high levels of zoom – but also ‘view in darkness’ option – to reveal message about Stephen Lawrence – a key part of artwork.

Also ability to integrate other media – e.g. films of people commenting on works

This is the first version – Google very aware not perfect, and things to improve. Want to increase geographical spread of museums included. Have had over 10million visitors and 90k people create ‘my collections’ – importance of making things social and being able to share – and realised need to develop that feature further.

Art Project took 18 months to get up and running – felt like a long time – but takes time, and long term project for Google – next phase over next couple of years.

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