If Claudia and Jamie had had this beyond-amazing tool from Google, their running-away scheme would have been even more amazing.
I saw this on Google the other day and it is truly amazing. I have been thinking a lot about virtual tours and "visiting" a place you have never stepped foot on. I could have taken a tour of Schloss Neuschwanstein without ever leaving my bag of rice cakes but there was something wonderfully exhausting about the thirty minute hike up the mountain and seeing the castle grow from the trees. In the vein of online dating, it is impossible to fully imbibe everything that a person, a place, a painting has to offer from a picture but it surely can nurture an appreciation for it. From a different angle, I have often wondered about the effectiveness of philanthropic commercials, you know the ASPCA or Save the Children ones. Sure, I am moved by the videos and photos and next time I'm at a check-out counter and they ask me to donate a dollar to X or Y Foundation I will or I'll consider it in a biannual donation, but I have never called them on the telephone after the sitcom resumes. Perhaps the distance from the source can only add O2 to an interest that's already present and already sparked, it is not enough to ignite a passion.
Roberta Smith had an interesting review of Google Art Project the other day in the New York Times titled, "The Work of Art in the Age of Google".