You probably didn’t know you needed yet another Google app on your smartphone, but if you’re an art lover, you’ll want to make space for this one.
The Google Arts & Culture app, launched Tuesday, applies Google’s search chops to a database containing artworks from more than a thousand museums in 70 countries.
The app opens with some curated stories and a search box on top, but if you dig deeper, you’ll find a surprising amount of cool features. You can go on a virtual, 360-degree museum tour; you can browse artworks by color, medium or art movement, or you can see how an artist’s work has changed through time.
You don’t really need an app to enjoy all this; Google has also put up a new Arts & Culture page online. Here and there, the site will warn you that you’ll have the best experience if you install the Google Arts & Culture app on your phone.
Case in point: An experimental feature called the “Art Recognizer,” which lets you point your phone at an artwork in a museum and have Google instantly deliver some information about it. Google says it plans to roll the feature to museums around the world, though the company didn’t specify when.
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