Google today has announced the launch of a new cultural project that allows users to explore historical sites around the world as if they were in those locations. The new World Wonders Project displays Street Views of historical landmarks around the world.
The site currently features 132 historic sites around the world including Stonehenge, ancient Kyoto temples, and the Palace of Versailles. The locations can be virtually toured using panoramas created using Google's Street View technology. Many sites also have 3D models and YouTube video accompanying them. The virtual tours are similar to Google's Street View Gallery, which features panoramas of places such as the Amazon River, The White House, and Euro 2012 Stadiums.
The announcement came on Google's Official Blog, where Google detailed its commitment to preserving and sharing culture online. From the blog post:
We hope World Wonders will prove to be a valuable educational resource for students and scholars. A selection of educational packages are available to download for classroom use; you can also share the site content with friends.
The World Wonders Project is part of the Google Cultural Institute, which is dedicated to building tools that make human cultural heritage accessible worldwide. The Cultural Institute is in the process of publishing high resolution digital scans of the Dead Sea Scrolls and has recently published a digital archive for Nelson Mandela. Google also partnered with other organizations on the World Wonders Project including UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund, Getty Images, and Ourplace.
Below, you can see a trailer for the World Wonders Project, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how Google captured some of the locations with the use of its Street View tricycles.