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Google's improved search seeks to make us all art experts

The search giant has improved its engine so art-related searches are more informative than ever.


Google wants to make art experts out of everyone.

The search giant has launched a new feature for art-related searches that will allow you to understand more about the artist and his works, as well as where they can be found, it announced in a Wednesday blog post. Over 500 million Google searches per month are art-related, the company said.

The new feature -- mildly reminiscent of the travel guide tab that comes up when you search a city or country -- is the result of a collaboration between Google's Arts and Culture team and its search engineers. When you search for an artist like Gustav Klimt, for example, an interactive panel pops up that allows you to see an overview of the artist, his works, as well as where you can find them. 

Some pieces can also be viewed in high-resolution. Google said this is made possible with the Art Camera, a custom-made robotic camera to digitize artworks. A fleet of these cameras travels around the world and cultural institutions can use them digitally preserve and share artworks online.

Google has also implemented similar features on Street View. If you navigate around museums, you can click on a painting to see it in high-resolution or to understand more information, which Google said is provided by the museums.

When CNET tried out the new features on an art gallery, National Gallery Singapore, we realised not every painting found has more information available. Google clarified that the institutions are the decision-makers in terms of what they want to be published online.


  Not all exhibits come with additional information. 

Screenshot by Zoey Chong/CNET

The new features are available on the web and on Android and iOS platforms. Google clarified that all artworks displayed are "captured and shared" by the institutions, which also have to clear the rights and approve of their publication.

First published June 1 at 3:08 a.m. PT. 

Update, June 2 at 4:10 a.m. PT: Added comments from Google about how information is collected, and how the team decides which artworks appear on the platform.

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