Tag Archives: augmented reality (AR)

Dive into Diwali at home with Google Arts & Culture

Every autumn, millions of people around the world come together for firework displays, feasts, prayer, and festivities in celebration of Diwali -- the festival of lights. Millions of clay lamps illuminate homes and public spaces. Floors are covered with cheerful rangolis to bring good luck. With the food, family and festivities, Diwali is all about the experience of coming together, and the vibrant spectacle of color and light, but the global pandemic changes how we celebrate this year. Google Arts & Culture has created a virtual Diwali experience that everyone can be a part of, wherever you are in the world.


Festive lights in Augmented Reality

To recreate some festival fervor, try out a new Augmented Reality experience. Decorate your space virtually with diyas (lamps), detonate virtual anar (firecrackers), for some explosive, playful fun, and to learn more about these important cultural traditions.

Dive into Diwali from home

Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 20 cultural heritage organisations to launch Diwali @ Home. Striking images and immersive online stories weave a journey through the festival of lights, its legends and folklore, and dive into the sights, sounds and smells of an iconic festival.


Month of Kartika from the collection of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Dokra Diya from the collection of Banglanatak

Radha and Krishna Watching Fireworks in the Sky from the collection of National Museum, New Delhi


The color, food, festivities and nostalgia of Diwali are shared through new online exhibitions from partner institutions including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Indian Museum, National Museum and many more.

Interactive art coloring book for family fun

There’s also plenty of hands-on fun for families with interactive coloring books -- in artworks inspired by traditional Indian paintings in a specially developed coloring book! Find it with Google Search, simply by searching for “Diwali” on your phone.

Lady Lighting a Lamp from the collection of Salar Jung Museum, and a page from the interactive Diwali art coloring book

Finally, watch a video conversation between Amish Tripathi, author and Director of The Nehru Centre, and art historian broadcaster and former museum director Neil MacGregor on Diwali and why it’s particularly special this year.

So, with the help of a little Google magic, we hope our Diwali @ Home experience adds to your festive cheer as you celebrate in your own way this year, on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android.

Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture


Dive into Diwali at home with Google Arts & Culture

Every autumn, millions of people around the world come together for firework displays, feasts, prayer, and festivities in celebration of Diwali -- the festival of lights. Millions of clay lamps illuminate homes and public spaces. Floors are covered with cheerful rangolis to bring good luck. With the food, family and festivities, Diwali is all about the experience of coming together, and the vibrant spectacle of color and light, but the global pandemic changes how we celebrate this year. Google Arts & Culture has created a virtual Diwali experience that everyone can be a part of, wherever you are in the world.


Festive lights in Augmented Reality

To recreate some festival fervor, try out a new Augmented Reality experience. Decorate your space virtually with diyas (lamps), detonate virtual anar (firecrackers), for some explosive, playful fun, and to learn more about these important cultural traditions.

Dive into Diwali from home

Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 20 cultural heritage organisations to launch Diwali @ Home. Striking images and immersive online stories weave a journey through the festival of lights, its legends and folklore, and dive into the sights, sounds and smells of an iconic festival.


Month of Kartika from the collection of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Dokra Diya from the collection of Banglanatak

Radha and Krishna Watching Fireworks in the Sky from the collection of National Museum, New Delhi


The color, food, festivities and nostalgia of Diwali are shared through new online exhibitions from partner institutions including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Indian Museum, National Museum and many more.

Interactive art coloring book for family fun

There’s also plenty of hands-on fun for families with interactive coloring books -- in artworks inspired by traditional Indian paintings in a specially developed coloring book! Find it with Google Search, simply by searching for “Diwali” on your phone.

Lady Lighting a Lamp from the collection of Salar Jung Museum, and a page from the interactive Diwali art coloring book

Finally, watch a video conversation between Amish Tripathi, author and Director of The Nehru Centre, and art historian broadcaster and former museum director Neil MacGregor on Diwali and why it’s particularly special this year.

So, with the help of a little Google magic, we hope our Diwali @ Home experience adds to your festive cheer as you celebrate in your own way this year, on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android.

Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture


Dive into Diwali at home with Google Arts & Culture

Every autumn, millions of people around the world come together for firework displays, feasts, prayer, and festivities in celebration of Diwali -- the festival of lights. Millions of clay lamps illuminate homes and public spaces. Floors are covered with cheerful rangolis to bring good luck. With the food, family and festivities, Diwali is all about the experience of coming together, and the vibrant spectacle of color and light, but the global pandemic changes how we celebrate this year. Google Arts & Culture has created a virtual Diwali experience that everyone can be a part of, wherever you are in the world.


Festive lights in Augmented Reality

To recreate some festival fervor, try out a new Augmented Reality experience. Decorate your space virtually with diyas (lamps), detonate virtual anar (firecrackers), for some explosive, playful fun, and to learn more about these important cultural traditions.

Dive into Diwali from home

Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 20 cultural heritage organisations to launch Diwali @ Home. Striking images and immersive online stories weave a journey through the festival of lights, its legends and folklore, and dive into the sights, sounds and smells of an iconic festival.


Month of Kartika from the collection of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Dokra Diya from the collection of Banglanatak

Radha and Krishna Watching Fireworks in the Sky from the collection of National Museum, New Delhi


The color, food, festivities and nostalgia of Diwali are shared through new online exhibitions from partner institutions including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Indian Museum, National Museum and many more.

Interactive art coloring book for family fun

There’s also plenty of hands-on fun for families with interactive coloring books -- in artworks inspired by traditional Indian paintings in a specially developed coloring book! Find it with Google Search, simply by searching for “Diwali” on your phone.

Lady Lighting a Lamp from the collection of Salar Jung Museum, and a page from the interactive Diwali art coloring book

Finally, watch a video conversation between Amish Tripathi, author and Director of The Nehru Centre, and art historian broadcaster and former museum director Neil MacGregor on Diwali and why it’s particularly special this year.

So, with the help of a little Google magic, we hope our Diwali @ Home experience adds to your festive cheer as you celebrate in your own way this year, on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android.

Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture


India’s mini-masterpieces brought to life with AI and AR

Miniature paintings are among the most beautiful, most technically-advanced and most sophisticated art forms in Indian culture. Though compact (about the same size as a small book), they typically tackle profound themes such as love, power and faith. Using technologies like machine learning, augmented reality and high-definition robotic cameras, Google Arts & Culture has partnered with the National Museum in New Delhi to showcase these special works of art in a magical new way.

Virtually wander the halls of a special ‘pocket gallery’

Inspired by the domes and doorways that punctuate Indian homes and public spaces, this is the first AR-powered art gallery designed with traditional Indian architecture. Using your smartphone, you can open up a life-size virtual space, walk around at your leisure and zoom into your favorite pieces—you have this beautiful museum to yourself! 

The first AR-powered art gallery inspired by the domes and doorways of India.

Art meets AI, with  Magnify Miniatures

Miniatures are rich in detailed representations of topics that have shaped Indian culture. Thanks to machine learning, you can now discover these attributes across a collection of miniature paintings. Select from tags like ‘face’, ‘animal’, or even ‘moustache’, and see where these features occur!

Take a closer look with immersive in-painting tours 

Art Camera, our ultra-high-resolution robotic camera, was deployed to produce the most vivid images of masterpieces ever seen. Using these images, we’ve created over 75 in-painting tours to help you stop and appreciate details like wisps of smoke from firecrackers, or see how finesse and variety of every person’s attire in this royal procession—flourishes that you wouldn’t be able to see well with the naked eye.

You can zoom in to see the wisps of smoke in this miniature titled "Lady Holding a Sparkler"

Explore thousands of rich stories and images 

The virtual collection includes 1,200 high resolution images from 25 collections all around the world and more than 75 stories, depicting scenes that include legendary marriage processions, the joy of being among nature, or epic battles. Curious minds,  students and families will find playful and educational ways to enjoy the world of Indian miniatures, such as an interactive coloring book

We’re glad that through the power of technology, people all over the world can engage with these miniature masterpieces like never before.

Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture

Charting the next 15 years of Google Maps



It’s easy to take for granted how much information about the world is now available at our fingertips. But it wasn’t long ago that traveling to a new place meant fumbling through sheets of turn-by-turn instructions while trying to keep one hand on the steering wheel, with no way to anticipate how bad traffic would be or find a restaurant along the way. It was around that time, 15 years ago, that Google Maps set out on an audacious goal to map the world. 


I remember seeing early versions of Google Maps and being amazed at how easily you could scroll, zoom and search the world. One of my earliest memories of working on Google Maps was as a member of our user experience team, which designs and improves the usability of our products. In a world before smartphones, one of the biggest questions that we agonized over was where to put the Print button on the page so that people could easily take their directions on the go. 


Needless to say, a lot has changed. Google Maps has mapped more than 220 countries, surfaced information for about 200 million places and businesses, and helped billions of people get from point A to point B with confidence. In the beginning, we focused on answering the question: “How do I get from here to there?” Over time, our mission has expanded from helping you navigate to also helping you discover the best places to go and things to do once you’re there. As we celebrate our birthday this week, we’re reflecting on how the definition of what a map can do has broadened, and how machine learning will propel us forward from here. 


Navigating the world: From simple directions to Live View 


Fifteen years ago, printing out directions was considered state-of-the-art. So the idea of getting turn-by-turn driving navigation from your phone while on the road seemed revolutionary. In 2009, Google Maps pioneered turn-by-turn mobile navigation, and we’ve since added directions and navigation for walking, transit, bicycles, two-wheelers, and more--all with the goal of helping you with every trip across every mode of transportation. Since people increasingly use a mix of transportation options in a single trip--like walking to the train station and then taking a rideshare to their final stop--one of our next challenges involves stitching together these navigation options and ETAs for a more seamless experience.


Directions alone aren’t enough. We’re also helping you get there faster and more comfortably by arming you with relevant real-time information like live traffic alerts, predictions for how crowded your bus will be and which bike-sharing locations have available bikes. And we’ve used technology like augmented reality (AR) to help bring the map to life in helpful ways. Last year we introduced Live View, which uses AR, AI and your smartphone camera to show you your surroundings with the directions overlaid. It solves the real pain point of walking halfway down the block toward a place only to realize you’re going the wrong way (I’ve definitely been there!).


Exploring the world once you get there


We’ve always fundamentally believed that a map is much more than masses of land and sea, that a city is more than a web of streets. After all, the things that make my hometown shine are the brunch spot with my favorite veggie scramble, the pet salon that keeps my dog happy while he gets a trim, and the pizza spot with the foosball table that keeps my kids entertained while we wait. A truly helpful map reflects all of those local insights and helps you find places and experiences that are right for you—so that’s been a big focus for us over the last few years. 


Until recently, if you were looking to grab a slice of pizza, you’d get a list of 20 nearby pizza joints. (And way before that, you’d have to search in advance on a desktop to get the list, or if you were already out of the house you had to roam streets seeking the smell of melted cheese!) Now, we can help you find all of the pizza spots nearby, when they're open, how crowded they’ll be, and which one has the best toppings. Once you’ve decided where to go, you can easily make a reservation or call the restaurant. 


Doing this well at scale requires a deep understanding of businesses and places—which is where our active community of users comes in. Every day, people contribute more than 20 million pieces of content to Google, like photos, reviews and ratings. These contributions continually make our map richer and more helpful for everyone. They also power features like popular dishes at restaurants, up-to-date road closures and wheelchair accessible routes. We’re also making it easy for you to get things done at these places within Google Maps—so you can go from finding a yoga studio to booking a class. 


The technology propelling the future of Maps


The world is always changing—new roads are added, bus routes are changed and natural disasters alter accessible routes. That’s why a map needs to be updated, comprehensive and accurate. Major breakthroughs in AI have transformed our approach to mapmaking, helping us bring high-quality maps and local information to more parts of the world faster. 


For instance, we worked with our data operations team to manually trace common building outlines, then trained our machine learning models to recognize building edges and shapes. Thanks to this technique, we’ve mapped as many buildings in the last year as we did in the previous 10. Elsewhere, machine learning helps us recognize handwritten building numbers that would be hard even for a passerby in a car to see. This is especially important when mapping areas where formal street signs and house numbers are uncommon. In Lagos, Nigeria alone, machine learning has helped us add 20,000 street names, 50,000 addresses, and 100,000 new businesses—lighting up the map with local places and businesses where there once was little detailed information. 


The map of the next 15 years 


As we celebrate our birthday and look ahead to the next 15 years, we’re rolling out a few new updates, including a refreshed look for the app and more information about your transit rides. And we’ve updated our Google Maps icon to reflect our journey.


When we set out to map the world, we knew it would be a challenge. But 15 years in, I’m still in awe of what a gargantuan task it is. It requires building and curating an understanding of everything there is to know about the physical world, and then bringing that information to people in a way that helps you navigate, explore and get things done in your world. The real world is infinitely detailed and always changing, so our work of reflecting it back to you is never done. 

Posted by Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President, Google Maps