Google has launched a new online tool to allow museums, galleries and individuals to create online art exhibitions. Google Open Gallery became available for public use this week, though potential users must request an invitation from Google to use the free service.
The new application will allow galleries, museums and other individuals to upload content and create virtual exhibitions and tours. It also enables organizations to publish a new site or add on to an existing site. In addition, the service provides users the capability of adding background information that visitors would normally see at an actual exhibition.
Google Open Gallery featured 45 exhibitions from institutions and individuals around the world.
Google Open Gallery is being launched as part of Google Cultural Institute, which has partnered with major art organizations around the world to put content online. Another service, Google Art Project, allows museums to upload high-resolution images of artwork for public viewing.
Google Art Project has partnered with numerous museums including major local institutions such as the Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Google’s cultural initiatives have been met with some skepticism, especially in France, where leaders regard the U.S. company as a threat to local culture.
Google Open Gallery features a number of viewer tools, including search, filter and zoom functions.