In addition to heritage sites like the Taj Mahal and Humayun's tomb, starting today, visitors will be able to virtually visit far-flung historical sites such as the Ellora Caves and Kangra Fort in India, at the click of a button. Google is releasing new 360-degree online imagery of 76 historical sites from across the country. The search giant is doing so with the support of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The panoramas are available for viewing through the Google Cultural Institute site as well as on Google Maps. This launch brings the total number of ASI locations now online to over 100. The company had earlier added Taj Mahal and 29 other Indian monuments on 'Street View' in Feb this year.
"There is never an adequate substitute for seeing the real thing, but we hope that by putting these sights online and making them accessible for anyone with an internet connection, these exhibits will inspire more people to visit, and in doing so, sustain India's heritage," wrote Rajan Anandan, VP and managing director, Google India, in an official company blog post.
In addition to the historical sites, for the first time, Google is also bringing online several Indian arts and archival institutions onto the Google Cultural Institute. Users can now explore new exhibits at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi; follow the journey of the Parsis from Persia to the present day at the Parzor Foundation; or experience India's first ever Independence Day in 1947 thanks to archival material from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
Users can also curate their own collection on the Google Cultural Institute with the 'User Galleries' function. While browsing an individual exhibit, they can click on the '+' sign next to the exhibit's name, and it will automatically be added to the drawer at the bottom of the page.
Last month, the search giant had launched Google Maps in Hindi. With this, in addition to English, users get to see the names of the cities, localities, important roads, and other popular points of interest such as public parks and schools in Hindi.
The company had also earlier added 'Indoor maps' that enables users to view and navigate floor plans of several commercial locations such as airports, shopping malls, large retail stores, transit stations, and more within Google Maps. To begin with, the company is offering floor plans of 75 locations in 22 cities across the country.