Tag Archives: Europe

An update on Fitbit

Last year, we announced that Google entered into an agreement to acquire Fitbit to help spur innovation in wearable devices and build products that help people lead healthier lives. As we continue to work with regulators to answer their questions, we wanted to share more about how we believe this deal will increase choice, and create engaging products and helpful experiences for consumers.

There's vibrant competition when it comes to smartwatches and fitness trackers, with Apple, Samsung, Garmin, Fossil, Huawei, Xiaomi and many others offering numerous products at a range of prices. We don’t currently make or sell wearable devices like these today. We believe the combination of Google and Fitbit's hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector, making the next generation of devices better and more affordable. 

This deal is about devices, not data. We’ve been clear from the beginning that we will not use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads. We recently offered to make a legally binding commitment to the European Commission regarding our use of Fitbit data. As we do with all our products, we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data. And we’ll continue to support wide connectivity and interoperability across our and other companies’ products. 

We appreciate the opportunity to work with the European Commission on an approach that addresses consumers' expectations of their wearable devices. We’re confident that by working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together our experience in AI, software and hardware, we can build compelling devices for people around the world.

This Googler is crocheting a royal dynasty

In recent months, many of us have been taking up eclectic new hobbies while stuck at home. But Danish Googler Christine Sørensen didn’t need social distancing to inspire her unusual passion project: She was already well on her way to crocheting all 54 monarchs in Denmark’s history. We spoke with her to learn what inspired her, and how it’s had some unexpected intersections with her day job.

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Christine's first crochet project, Queen Margrethe I

What’s your role at Google?

I work in the Government Affairs team. I talk to politicians about how Google can contribute to the Danish economy and society with our innovations and ideas.

Where did you get the idea to crochet Danish monarchs?

One day, when I was visiting New York for business, I was in Chelsea Market and noticed a book teaching you how to crochet the Star Wars characters. I like Star Wars, so I got the book and started on Princess Leia. I also really like history, and as I was crocheting I realized that Leia looked a lot like Queen Margrethe I. I modified the dress, and there she was. And then I thought, we’ve had 54 kings and queens, why not do them all?

How far along are you now?

I started in 2017, but it wasn’t a priority. Then, at the end of the year, our queen made a speech that inspired me. Instead of always striving to accomplish something, she recommended doing something that wasn’t at all useful, something colorful. I thought, “That’s me!” and I really started in on the project.

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Queen Margrethe II, the current queen of Denmark, giving a birthday speech to her assembled forerunners

It’s been a great opportunity for me to learn and think about the way our monarchy has evolved over a thousand years. It’s a story of hard power turning into soft power: In the year 1000, the monarch decided everything. They had all the power and the resources to enforce it. Now, monarchy is a very soft power—we send the queen to whatever country we’re trying to get a good trade deal with, for example.

I’ve done 27 of them now. Number 28  is King Christian X, who is portrayed on a horse. That played a very big symbolic role for the country: After the First World War, southern Denmark was finally reunited with the rest of the country, and he rode over the former border as a symbolic gesture. Then in World War II, when Denmark was occupied by the Germans, he rode his horse around Copenhagen every morning at 10:00 as a reminder of Danish sovereignty. I’ll have him ready by July 10th the 100th anniversary of the reunification of Denmark.

So before this you’d never crocheted anything?

No, I just taught myself from the Star Wars book. Since then, I’ve realized that there’s a major crochet community online, and people are very helpful whenever I ask questions. For example, right now I’m at great pains trying to figure out whether King Christian will be attached to his horse or not, and how to even make the horse in the first place, and I’m getting tons of very good advice.

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Christine poses with her crocheted Queen Margrethe II

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Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Christine's crocheted Queen Margrethe I

Has this project had any unexpected effects on your work?

A lot of my job involves talking to journalists and politicians, and many of them will check in on how the crocheting is going—there’s always a nice conversation to be had if you’re stuck waiting around with someone. And then there are some unexpected similarities between certain monarchs and some of the politicians I meet with. For example, I brought together Denmark’s first woman prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and my crocheted Queen Margrethe I for a “chat” about what it was like to be the first woman in each of their roles.

What are your plans for your collection when you’re done?

My moonshot is to get an exhibition at the National Museum of Denmark—stay tuned! For now, I’m slowly building up a community on Instagram. I travel a lot all over Northern Europe for work—or at least I used to—which means not only do I have time to crochet while I’m on a plane, but I can also bring the kings and queens to the places associated with them. Harald Bluetooth can go to the city of Jelling, where he marked his introduction of Christianity with a massive runestone. Christian IV can go to Oslo, a city he founded. Valdemar the Victorious can go to Estonia, where the Danish flag miraculously appeared to him in the sky. 

Recently, when coronavirus spoiled further celebrations, Christian I held an anniversary speech at the Copenhagen University Ceremonial Hall, which he founded 541 years ago. But the kings and I can’t wait to go explore the realm (and the past) again.

Explore 250 years of the Royal Academy of Arts

London’s Royal Academy of Arts(RA) has been championing artists and architects for more than 250 years, and—pandemic or not—isn’t stopping now. Since its founding in 1769, the RA’s graduates have influenced culture in the UK and abroad through art practice, education, research and more. During this time of closed doors, the RA is inviting art fans around the world to walk their halls, explore their collection and delve into their stories on Google Arts & Culture.

The RA collection is a varied and unconventional treasure trove of British art, with works from luminaries like J.M.W. Turner, John Constable and Angelica Kauffman, through to contemporary masters like Lubaina Humid, Yinka Shonibare and Lynn Chadwick. Out of the 200+ worksnow available online, 20 have been captured in gigapixel resolution using our Art Camera technology, giving users the closest possible look at the details of each work.

At the ripe old age of 250, the RA underwent major renovations last year to extend and enhance their public offerings. The refreshed building was then captured from head to tail using Street View to enable art fans to explore the building and its galleries online for the first time.

Thirty stories illustrate the RA’s history, including a few lesser-known tales such as the feud between John Constable and JMW Turner. Self-guided tours of masterpieces mean you can explore at your own pace and virtually press your nose up to the canvas without raising a security guard’s ire. Take a walk through the building’s many halls, explore a sculpture installation, see the unusual props in the life drawing studio and walk from the grand Piccadilly entrance right through to the stately Burlington Gardens extension. 

As Axel Rüger, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy, says, “Especially in times of crisis, art galleries and museums should be places of community that provide inspiration, escape, solace, fun and consolation. The Royal Academy of Arts has existed to do that since 1768. At a time when our doors are sadly closed, we are delighted to continue that cultural exchange online, through Google Arts & Culture.”

Visit g.co/MeetTheRA to explore, or download the free Google Arts & Culture app for iOS or Android.

Protecting Europe’s workers: The urgent need for skills

In recent years, new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics have helped companies increase efficiency and productivity and become more competitive on the global stage. But with these technological advances come challenges for governments and employers: in the short term, technology can fundamentally change the way people work, and in the long term it can displace some jobs altogether. With the additional upheaval of jobs markets as a result of the pandemic, it’s imperative that skills programs are targeted at those most at risk of displacement. 

Governments around the world, including the European Commission, are gearing up for these challenges and initiating programs to re-train their workforces. Over many years, Google has sought to play its part by building products that help European businesses grow and helping over seven million people all over Europe learn new digital skills. 

How will the future work?

We recently collaborated with the McKinsey Global Institute on new research looking at the impact of automation on jobs in almost 1,100 regional labor markets in Europe over the next ten years. The research estimates that, even accounting for expected job losses, Europe may still have a shortage of workers rather than a shortage of jobs in 2030. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the research suggested that the shortfall could be as high as 6 million workers, although that may now be lower. To put it another way, automation in Europe is not the threat to jobs that some people fear.

However, these opportunities are not spread equally across Europe, and there’s a clear gap between the requirements of these future jobs and the skills people currently have. Some jobs will be lost, and people will need new skills to succeed in new types of work. Alongside this, COVID-19 is also having a major impact, accelerating trends that we expected to see over a longer period of time. 

Unlike most prior research about the future of work, which was conducted at a national level, this report puts regions front and centre. Towns like Mannheim and Montpellier, or Dobrich and Douro, are more similar to each other than they are to the rest of their own countries, when it comes to the impact of automation. You can see those similarities clearly in this interactive map that we launched today. 

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The map is a companion to the McKinsey Global Institute report, showing the types of jobs that will be growing and declining across Europe’s diverse regions over the next ten years. It’s also a clear illustration of the importance of tailoring skills and training programs to the needs and opportunities of individual European regions, sectors and communities.

What’s next? 

That’s certainly been our experience: we’ve seen that training is only successful if you open it up to everyone, and especially to those most at risk of job displacement, who too often don’t have the opportunity or means to learn new skills, and may live in lower-growth regions. That’s why we’ve developed partnerships with experts to help reach underserved groups, including working with organisations toreach trade unions and workers in the transport and logistics sector, developing programs to helpwomen build confidence in their leadership skills, and funding nonprofits to provide critical services forunderserved small businesses.

The jobs market turmoil caused by the pandemic has made reskilling even more urgent. During the first few weeks of lockdown, we saw a 300 percent increase in the number of people taking our free Grow with Google training courses. Significantly, McKinsey Global Institute conducted its research shortly before the COVID-19 crisis began, but analysis of more recent data shows a significant overlap between the jobs at risk in the next ten years and those at risk now

Every day, we work with European entrepreneurs and businesses to help them grow. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve increased our support by providing funding, tools and programs to help workers and businesses recover faster from the crisis, and help people stay safe, informed and connected. Along with increasing private investment from companies like ours, we call on governments to create the right environments to help citizens learn the skills that are required for the jobs of the future. It’s up to all of us—governments, companies and citizens—to make sure all European regions thrive and the benefits of automation reach everyone.


Below are some of the key findings from the research and you can read McKinsey’s full report here.

Reskilling is paramount  

  • More than 90 million workers may need to develop significant new skills within their current roles, while up to 21 million may have to leave declining occupations.
  • Automation will affect sectors and occupations differently, with office work, manufacturing, agriculture and construction presenting some of the highest displacement rates. 
  • Europe may still have a shortage of workers rather than a shortage of jobs in 2030, with growth predicted in healthcare, STEM-related sectors and creative and arts industries. So while tech aptitude is an asset, it’s not everything: Europeans will spend 30 percent more time doing work related to social and emotional skills. 

The impact on labour markets will vary across countries and regions 

  • Our research revealed 13 types of regional clusters across Europe. From superstar hubs that drive change and attract worldwide talent to regions supported by public investment, these profiles reveal the continent in a new light. 
  • High-tech jobs will be a major growth area: jobs in science and engineering will grow by 40 percent in megacities like London and Paris, 35 percent in superstar hubs like Geneva and Stockholm, and 30 percent in service-based economies like Manchester and Budapest. 
  • Even before the crisis, remote work has grown steadily since 2007: around 19 percent of German and 14 percent of French workers sometimes or usually work from home. However, this growth has been concentrated in urban areas, and not in the declining regions that don’t have enough jobs.

Read the full report on McKinsey’s site here and visit our interactive map. Google wants to play its part to accelerate Europe's economic recovery through our technology, tools and training and help all Europeans benefit from long term technological advances.

Responding to the European Commission’s AI white paper

In January, our CEO Sundar Pichai visited Brussels to talk about artificial intelligence and how Google could help people and businesses succeed in the digital age through partnership. Much has changed since then due to COVID-19, but one thing hasn’t—our commitment to the potential of partnership with Europe on AI, especially to tackle the pandemic and help people and the economy recover. 

As part of that effort, we earlier today filed our response to the European Commission’s Consultation on Artificial Intelligence, giving our feedback on the Commission’s initial proposal for how to regulate and accelerate the adoption of AI. 

Excellence, skills, trust

Our filing applauds the Commission’s focus on building out the European “ecosystem of excellence.” European universities already boast renowned leaders in dozens of areas of AI research—Google partners with some of them via our machine learning research hubs in Zurich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and London—and many of their students go on to make important contributions to European businesses.  

We support the Commission’s plans to help businesses develop the AI skills they need to thrive in the new digital economy. Next month, we’ll contribute to those efforts by extending our machine learning check-up tool to 11 European countries to help small businesses implement AI and grow their businesses. Google Cloud already works closely with scores of businesses across Europe to help them innovate using AI.  

We also support the Commission’s goal of building a framework for AI innovation that will create trust and guide ethical development and use of this widely applicable technology. We appreciate the Commission's proportionate, risk-based approach. It’s important that AI applications in sensitive fields—such as medicine or transportation—are held to the appropriate standards. 

Based on our experience working with AI, we also offered a couple of suggestions for making future regulation more effective. We want to be a helpful and engaged partner to policymakers, and we have provided more details in our formal response to the consultation.

Definition of high-risk AI applications

AI has a broad range of current and future applications, including some that involve significant benefits and risks.  We think any future regulation would benefit from a more carefully nuanced definition of “high-risk” applications of AI. We agree that some uses warrant extra scrutiny and safeguards to address genuine and complex challenges around safety, fairness, explainability, accountability, and human interactions. 

Assessment of AI applications

When thinking about how to assess high-risk AI applications, it's important to strike a balance. While AI won’t always be perfect, it has great potential to help us improve over the performance of existing systems and processes. But the development process for AI must give people confidence that the AI system they’re using is reliable and safe. That’s especially true for applications like new medical diagnostic techniques, which potentially allow skilled medical practitioners to offer more accurate diagnoses, earlier interventions, and better patient outcomes. But the requirements need to be proportionate to the risk, and shouldn’t unduly limit innovation, adoption, and impact. 

This is not an easy needle to thread. The Commission’s proposal suggests “ex ante” assessment of AI applications (i.e., upfront assessment, based on forecasted rather than actual use cases). Our contribution recommends having established due diligence and regulatory review processes expand to include the assessment of AI applications. This would avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and likely speed up implementation.

For the (probably) rare instances when high-risk applications of AI are not obviously covered by existing regulations, we would encourage clear guidance on the “due diligence” criteria companies should use in their development processes. This would enable robust upfront self-assessment and documentation of any risks and their mitigations, and could also include further scrutiny after launch.

This approach would give European citizens confidence about the trustworthiness of AI applications, while also fostering innovation across the region. And it would encourage companies—especially smaller ones—to launch a range of valuable new services. 

Principles and process

Responsible development of AI presents new challenges and critical questions for all of us. In 2018 we published our own AI Principles to help guide our ethical development and use of AI, and also established internal review processes to help us avoid bias, test rigorously for safety, design with privacy top of mind.  Our principles also specify areas where we will not design or deploy AI, such as to support mass surveillance or violate human rights. Look out for an update on our work around these principles in the coming weeks. 

AI is an important part of Google’s business and our aspirations for the future. We share a common goal with policymakers—a desire to build trust in AI through responsible innovation and thoughtful regulation, so that European citizens can safely enjoy the full social and economic benefits of AI. We hope that our contribution to the consultation is useful, and we look forward to participating in the discussion in coming months.

How AI could predict sight-threatening eye conditions

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK and USA and is the third largest cause of blindness across the globe. The latest research collaboration between Google Health, DeepMind and Moorfields Eye Hospital is published in Nature Medicine today. It shows that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to not only spot the presence of AMD in scans, but also predict the disease’s progression. 

Vision loss and wet AMD

Around 75 percent of patients with AMD have an early form called “dry” AMD that usually has relatively mild impact on vision. A minority of patients, however, develop the more sight-threatening form of AMD called exudative, or “wet” AMD. This condition affects around 15 percent of patients, and occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop underneath the retina. These vessels can leak fluid, which can cause permanent loss of central vision if not treated early enough.

Macular degeneration mainly affects central vision, causing "blind spots" directly ahead

Macular degeneration mainly affects central vision, causing "blind spots" directly ahead (Macular Society).

Wet AMD often affects one eye first, so patients become heavily reliant upon their unaffected eye to maintain their normal day-to-day living. Unfortunately, 20 percent of these patientswill go on to develop wet AMD in their other eye within two years. The condition often develops suddenly but further vision loss can be slowed with treatments if wet AMD is recognized early enough. Ophthalmologists regularly monitor their patients for signs of wet AMD using 3D optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of the retina.

The period before wet AMD develops is a critical window for preventive treatment, which is why we set out to build a system that could predict whether a patient with wet AMD in one eye will go on to develop the condition in their second eye. This is a novel clinical challenge, since it’s not a task that is routinely performed.

How AI could predict the development of wet AMD

In collaboration with colleagues at DeepMind and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, we’ve developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that has the potential to predict whether a patient will develop wet AMD within six months. In the future, this system could potentially help doctors plan studies of earlier intervention, as well as contribute more broadly to clinical understanding of the disease and disease progression. 

We trained and tested our model using a retrospective, anonymized dataset of 2,795 patients. These patients had been diagnosed with wet AMD in one of their eyes, and were attending one of seven clinical sites for regular OCT imaging and treatment. For each patient, our researchers worked with retinal experts to review all prior scans for each eye and determine the scan when wet AMD was first evident. In collaboration with our colleagues at DeepMind we developed an AI system composed of two deep convolutional neural networks, one taking the raw 3D scan as input and the other, built on our previous work, taking a segmentation map outlining the types of tissue present in the retina. Our prediction system used the raw scan and tissue segmentations to estimate a patient’s risk of progressing to wet AMD within the next six months. 

To test the system, we presented the model with a single, de-identified scan and asked it to predict whether there were any signs that indicated the patient would develop wet AMD in the following six months. We also asked six clinical experts—three retinal specialists and three optometrists, each with at least ten years’ experience—to do the same. Predicting the possibility of a patient developing wet AMD is not a task that is usually performed in clinical practice so this is the first time, to our knowledge, that experts have been assessed on this ability. 

While clinical experts performed better than chance alone, there was substantial variability between their assessments. Our system performed as well as, and in certain cases better than, these clinicians in predicting wet AMD progression. This highlights its potential use for informing studies in the future to assess or help develop treatments to prevent wet AMD progression.

Future work could address several limitations of our research. The sample was representative of practice at multiple sites of the world’s largest eye hospital, but more work is needed to understand the model performance in different demographics and clinical settings. Such work should also understand the impact of unstudied factors—such as additional imaging tests—that might be important for prediction, but were beyond the scope of this work.

What’s next 

These findings demonstrate the potential for AI to help improve understanding of disease progression and predict the future risk of patients developing sight-threatening conditions. This, in turn, could help doctors study preventive treatments.

This is the latest stage in our partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, a long-standing relationship that transitioned from DeepMind to Google Health in September 2019. Our previous collaborations include using AI to quickly detect eye conditions, and showing how Google Cloud AutoML might eventually help clinicians without prior technical experience to accurately detect common diseases from medical images. 

This is early research, rather than a product that could be implemented in routine clinical practice. Any future product would need to go through rigorous prospective clinical trials and regulatory approvals before it could be used as a tool for doctors. This work joins a growing body of research in the area of developing predictive models that could inform clinical research and trials. In line with this, Moorfields will be making the dataset available through the Ryan Initiative for Macular Research. We hope that models like ours will be able to support this area of work to improve patient outcomes. 

Stay “connected to culture” on International Museum Day

Culture is the glue that connects us, even when we can’t be together. Right now people around the world are learning, exploring and finding joy in unexpected places and things, and cultural organizations everywhere are responding with new ways of staying connected to audiences digitally.

Supporting cultural organizations online

To mark this year's rather unusual International Museum Day, together with the International Council of Museums, we’re supporting cultural organizations to continue their cultural programs online with our multi-language resource “Connected to Culture.” It has been inspiring and humbling to see creative cultural organizations from around the globe reimagining the way people interact with art and culture, and adapting to the virtual world. Together, they’re helping to keep our communities connected through shared, digitized cultural moments.

Launching new things to explore for everyone 

Also today, more than 80 museums from over 25 countries are sharing new collections and stories on Google Arts & Culture, joining over 2000 partners already onboard. Discover the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (China), Parsons School of Design (USA), Meiji Jingu Forest - Festival of Art (Japan), Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C (Mexico) or the Casa Buonarroti (Italy). Together, they contribute 250 new stories and over 10,000 artworks as well as virtual Street View tours to exciting places such as the sacred grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Japan.

Offering tools to teachers and parents

To support teachers, parents, and curious minds throughout this period of quarantine, we’ve launched new educational content—from the Family Fun on Google Arts & Culture hub, to lesson plans, and virtual field trips with digital skills lessons.

For many art lovers, culture vultures, creators and curators, the idea of spending International Museum Day at home may not be a familiar one but we hope these new additions to Google Arts & Culture will inspire you to explore and learn more about arts and culture, with the whole family while at home.

Get creative with “do it”

It seems that baking bread, cleaning one's cellar or brewing Kombucha have become popular hobbies while staying at home. But how about creating a work of art? “Do it” are DIY instructions shared by leading creatives you can easily do at home. Today we have created a new hub for ‘Do It’ on Arts & Culture —created in collaboration with Serpentine Galleries,Independent Curators International and Kaldor Public Art Projects. 

 It began as a project by the Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries, curator Hans Ulrich Obristand 12 artists in Paris in 1993, and now we’re adding new “do its” including ones shared by Virgil A. Abloh, Sumayya Vally from Counterspace Studio, and Arca

 More “do its” will be published weekly, you can also try others from the past 27 years: make a wish with Yoko Ono,invent book titles like the Raqs Media Collective or bake a delicious gratin guided by film director Agnes Varda

 We hope these instructions will help you release your inner artist—share your creations via  #DoItAroundTheWorld. To find out more about “do it” visit g.co/doitaroundtheworld or discover more on Google Arts & Culture—or download our free app for iOS or Android

Header image by Precious Okoyomon

La Scala: the theater comes to you

Back in the 18th century, visitors to La Scala Theater in Milan had to scramble for good seats. Though the aristocrats owned their boxes, most people just had to stand on the ground floor the whole time, with no chairs at all. 

Starting today, nobody will have to worry about getting a good seat because La Scala of Milan, one of the most iconic theaters in the world, is raising its (digital) curtain on Google Arts & Culture. You’re invited to take the best seat in the house.

By bringing its treasures online on Google Arts & Culture, La Scala is opening for a global digital audience, after closing its doors due to the current Covid-19 restrictions. Even with its stage dark, the creativity of the artists endures. To celebrate the theater’s past and present, 92 artists from five countries have come together to create La Scala’s first opera performed in quarantine. Enjoy an aria from Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra” that fittingly represents a story of unity and resilience.
At home with artists from La Scala performing Verdi’s "Simon Boccanegra"

By recording 92 artists (6 soloists, 26 choristes, 60 musicians), currently in lockdown in their homes in 5 different countries, the video (re)introduces viewers to an aria from Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

In La Scala’s online collection, you can now walk through the theater with Street View. Discover what it feels like to stand on the main stage like an opera star, enjoy a ballet performance from the Royal box or, even look around the industrial workshop, where  artisans create impressive stages, props and nearly 1,000 costumes every year, including creations by fashion designers Gianni Versace and Yves Saint Laurent. With high resolution imagery captured by our Art Camera you can even zoom into the finest details of the costumes—from ivory brocade and gold cabochons to black velvet and ruby mirror stones—worn by opera icon Maria Callas.

Go even further behind the scenes and explore over 259,000 images digitized from the theater’s archive. You can flip through the pages of a rare edition of the rare hand-painted edition of Turandot music score, the first libretto for Verdi’sNabucco or learn about the many different artists whose work has graced the La Scala stage, including artists David Hockney and Giorgio De Chirico.

Wherever you are, you can look behind the curtain of one of the world’s greatest theaters. And while we wait to travel again, La Scala Theatre comes to you, online on Google Arts & Culture.

To discover even more about Performing Arts browse Google Arts & Culture online, or download our free app for iOS or Android.

Go on a cultural rendezvous with “Art For Two”

If you don’t work for a cultural institution, you’ve probably never had the opportunity to wander all alone through a museum’s hallways, exhibition spaces and galleries, after hours, with no one else around. That’s a privilege usually reserved for staff—until now. 

In the first installment of Google Arts & Culture’s new video series called “Art for Two”, curators from three cultural institutions are extending a special invitation to explore their collections, minus the crowds, as they discuss their favorite rooms and pieces with digital curators Mr. Bacchus and The Art Assignment.

You'll hear from the experts themselves: The director of the Museo d’Arte Orientale shows his favorite figurine and explains why it’s unusual. Sit at an antique kitchen table with Olivier Gabet, director of the Musée des arts décoratifs, or learn more about what makes Lucio Fontana’s installation at the Galleria Civica di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea so special.
Marco Guglielminotti Trivel, director of the Museo d’Arte Orientale meets digital curator Mr. Bacchus

Marco Guglielminotti Trivel, director of the Museo d’Arte Orientale meets digital curator Mr. Bacchus

Still itching to explore more? Another new series called “Perspectives” invites you to learn about important cultural destinations through the eyes and with the commentary of an inspirational guide. For the first edition, Grammy-nominated Indian-American artist Raja Kumari takes us on a personal ride to temples in India, including the famous Mahabalipuram—a cultural jewel and popular tourist destination, referred to as “Sculpture by the Sea.”

Raja Kumari shows you the Temples of India

Raja Kumari shows you the Temples of India

Travel isn't just about checking things off your bucket list. At a slow “couch travel” pace, Quiet Journeys, accompanied by the soothing sound of classical music, will help you relax and drift off into museums and masterpieces from all around the world.

“Art for Two”, ”Perspectives” and “Quiet Journeys” are the latest additions to our growing library of video formats that connect art and culture in new and unexpected ways. Check out Art Zoom to explore masterpieces through the eyes of famous musicians, and other videos on the Google Arts & Culture YouTube channel

Discover more on Google Arts & Culture—or download our free app for iOS or Android.