Google Art Project: Tour a Museum from Your Desktop

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Google recently launched its democratic Google Art Project, which allows users to virtually tour 17 prominent museums around the world (more museums will be added as the project continues).

The company uses its "street view" technology to tour London's National Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, to name a few. Project participants can use directional buttons view gallery rooms, zoom in on paintings, and save images to personal "albums," which can be emailed and shared.

While Botticelli's Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence might be more impressive in person (especially after an Italian espresso), Google hopes that the new service will encourage more people to discover and access worldwide pieces art in one place.

The service is free and open to the public. For more information, check out the Google Art Project's official website.