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Google Street View takes you to 'World Wonders'

With the launch of its World Wonders Project, Google is making it easy for users to get up close and personal with 132 world-famous sites, without needing a passport.

The Palace of Versailles, as seen in Google's new World Wonders Project.
Screenshot by CNET

Traveling to the world's most famous attractions is far and away the best way to see them, but Google doesn't want those who are short of time or money to be left out of seeing icons like Stonehenge, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Starting today, Google's new World Wonders Project brings the company's famous Street View technology to 132 famous sites in 18 countries, sometimes using pedal power instead of its now familiar camera-topped cars.

Among the sites included in the project are Versailles in France, Jerusalem in Israel, Historic Route 66 in the United States, the Cinque Terre region of Italy, Cologne Cathedral in Germany, and many more.

"World Wonders uses Street View technology to take you on a virtual trip to each iconic site," Google wrote in a blog post today. Most could not be filmed by car, so we used camera-carrying trikes to pedal our way close enough. The site also includes 3D models and YouTube videos of the historical places, so you can dig in and get more information and a broader view of each site."

In addition, Google wrote, the project features official information and photography on many of the sites from organizations like Getty Images, Ourplace, UNESCO, and the World Monuments Fund.