Google's Pocket Gallery came along in 2018, allowing users with AR-enabled smartphones to see artworks by the likes of Vermeer and Klimt, even pieces normally not accessible to the public. Now, Google is opening up the exhibitions to everyone on the web, letting you explore them on desktop or mobile devices with or without AR capabilities, it announced in a Keyword post.
Up until today, Pocket Gallery was essentially an (overly complicated) AR experience inside Google's Arts & Culture app, placing an art gallery on your desktop or another flat surface and allowing you to explore different art pieces. Now, you just need to load up the Arts & Culture website, find the Pocket Gallery section, choose a relevant exhibition in your browser and use your mouse or finger to scroll around, zoom in, etc.
Otherwise, it works much the same, allowing you to view, pan and zoom right in, down to brushstrokes and flecks of paint on certain pieces. It also provides a written description along with audio narratives for key pieces (complete with a museum-like echo), describing an artwork's history, meaning and more. It's a welcome and much overdue change, opening up the educational possibilities of Pocket Gallery to far more people.
Google Arts & Culture has other virtual experiences, including 360-degree videos and more. Along with the update, Google also unveiled a new exhibition in the collection done in collaboration with Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais in France. It features 40 marine masterpieces from the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre and elsewhere.