Google's plan to digitize the art world is gaining traction. Today the search engine giant announced the expansion of its Arts Project, launched in 2011. Now users have access to over 30,000 artworks at museums in 40 countries.
Using Google's Street View technology, the updated site allows art enthusiasts to virtually stroll the halls of 46 of the world's leading cultural institutions. Initiated with just four U.S. museums, the Art Project now includes 29 American venues.
One artwork from each institution has been photographed using high-resolution "gigapixel" technology, enabling viewers to study images such as the Frick Collection's celebrated Giovanni Bellini painting St. Francis in the Desert in more detail than visible with the human eye.
The latest site improvements include higher-quality display of the virtual tour and integration with Google+, as well as the option for users to create and share personal galleries. The Art Project is currently available on the Android platform, with an iPad version reportedly in the works.