Google “Art”?

February 3rd, 2011

Google Art: Although the scans of the single paintings are admirable and perhaps even useful, the museum tours leave much, too much to desire. The Frick is especially low quality and captures literally nothing of atmosphere that makes this museum unique.  I suppose it’s all done efficiently as possible, but still, one could reasonably expect more from Google. Wheeling around a hi-tech camera cart up and down the halls does not guarantee results no matter how much the devise costs and even if your name is Google. Technology must be used sensibly or otherwise we just get just one more silly toy.  D- for effort, there are other realities outside Silicon Valley.

3 Responses to “Google “Art”?”

  1. Jay Arrera

    I agree. I checked it out because I was hoping to explore museums that I haven’t seen yet. I was intrigued about the potential of wandering through, selecting an image, and learning more about an artist.

    The navigation through the museums was slow, awkward, and very poor quality.

    Maybe in another 10 years…

  2. H Niyazi

    You seem to be working from the assumption that it was a bumbling mistake and not a conscious decision for Google and their partner museums to limit the quality of the street view technology scans.

    Partner museums wanted to give a taste of these great centres, not replace or even recreate them. The included high res scans are to draw focus to some important/interesting works. The days of the cultural centres of the world being entirely digitised and rendered in phenomenal detail, even 3D are not here yet.

    It’s amazing that people can find the time and energy to poke holes in something that can only work to increase awareness of museums and art. Do you think anyone that has looked at the Google Art Project has thrown their hands up in disgust and said “I’m NEVER going there!”? Unlikely.

    The numerous students and scholars I have received feedback from have stated it is nice to have another resource, particularly one that is free and (almost) universally accessible.

    The amount of hits that the project has had far dwarfs any art site or blog in existence. In that respect, from the simple perspective of depth of reach, the project has already suceeded in sparking a further interest in art and museums.

    Kind Regards

  3. Jonathan Janson


    I really needn’t rustle up any significant amount of energy to react critically when I see something done poorly as Google museum tours nor do I need much time to post a few lines. Rather, I invest much, much more time energy in modestly crafting my Essential Vermeer website hoping to provide food for thought for newcomers and seasoned art historians alike (no easy task I assure you) hoping, too, that the neophytes will find their own reasons to go see the real things.
    The people who will naturally gravitate towards paintings in museums in search of a meaningful relationship with art (not those who are interested in saying “I was there’” or having something to talk about the next cocktail party) know how to get there by themselves. Excellent reproductions of masterpieces are literally everywhere. And if you don’t know more or less what museums look like inside by now, the icy walls and dead pictures of Goolge museums won’t make much of a difference either way. As usual, with Google it’s essentially big numbers, be they millions of hits per hour or billions of pixels. Perhaps it’s their professional deformation.

    As I said, the scans are another matter, very well done AND useful. However, it would be very instructive to open a discourse on the difference between paintings and images before it’s too late and they become even further confused.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    PS. I will concede that the horrible resolution was mutually agreed upon, but I have yet to understand why a navigation system should provoke nausea, unless, of course there’s some behind-the-scenes motive for that too.

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