Google launched a new arts and culture section, called “Lenses” on 4 July 2021. Google Arts & Culture is a free online platform of video and high-definition images of artworks by local partner cultural associations across the globe. It’s part of Google’s efforts to become more accessible to the public through its searchable content platform and one of the ways it intends to do this is to make its site more culturally-informed.
Google has chosen to launch this new initiative as part of its wider community-powered departmental initiative called “Google Buzz.” The company claims that its new feature is designed to provide a more thorough view of an artist’s entire body of work, including the origins, themes and mediums used. Google has also announced that all the featured artists will have their works featured in a Google Hangout, which will allow people to speak with the artist in real-time. The Hangout will be hosted on the Google+ social platform and Google says it will not be affiliated with any artist or gallery in any way. People who attend the Hangout can ask questions or get more information about an artist’s work through a dedicated feature. Google officials say they hope that this will spark greater awareness and participation by the arts and culture communities and that it will increase the range of people-powered content available on Google.
Artists who will be participating in Google Arts and Culture are asked to fill out a simple form that asks basic questions about their specific area of interest. They will also be asked to upload images related to their chosen topic or medium. They will then be given the opportunity to interact with other participants and receive feedback on their art. If you would like to take part in this program, you will need to be located in a country that has access to Google technologies.
Google says that the new feature will not be a part of its general photography and videography products, as those areas have been previously announced. However, the company did say it would be adding Hangouts to its product portfolio. Whether that means it will also offer videocameras and HD cameras is unclear at this time. Participants will have the ability to post videos from their phones and YouTube-type functions may also allow users to post short interviews with art historians and performers.
Google officials did not say whether or not Hangout participants will be able to comment on their artwork and videos, though it may be possible through a dedicated section for comments. Google says it does not plan to expand Hangout beyond its current scope and it does not yet know if it would like to add this feature later on. There are also no plans at this time to expand the existing Google+ social networking platform beyond the basics. For now, the focus appears to be on encouraging art enthusiasts and cultural enthusiasts to make their art and culture experiences more social and accessible through Hangouts.
While Hangouts seems very similar to other social networking websites in its current incarnation, it is important for an artist or curator to understand how to use it to promote their art. Google says it wants to help participants explore Hangouts based on interests, rather than predetermined topic preferences. If an artist wants to take this idea a step further and connect with his or her audience more fully, it would be ideal to learn more about the creative tools available on the platform and the potential applications it holds. In the meantime, people interested in art can join the free and open community of artists and fellow art enthusiasts on Hangouts and learn more about using the platform to explore creative possibilities and meet like-minded people.