Turn your mobile into a museum – with Google’s cool free app

There are plenty of “digital museums”, and the corona pandemic focused on the digitalisation of the museum world. As a rule, these are websites that give you an opportunity to view the works of art, and this opportunity is also available in the Google Arts & Culture service.

Google collaborates with 2,000 museums and similar institutions around the world and can thus display many works of art in a free service that does not require registration. You can look at art from, for example, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the British Museum in London and Moma in New York.

Many images are so high-resolution that you can zoom in on minimal details – and you also get help to understand the works of art better by reading different (English) texts. If you have a Chromecast, you can also view the pictures on your TV.

More than paintings

But Arts & Culture contains much more than text and static images. With the help of Google’s Street View technology, you can go on virtual tours through the museums’ premises – and in many cases there are also audio guides to the exhibitions.

The service can be accessed via the browser, but you get the most benefit by downloading the Arts & Culture app. You can then use the mobile phone’s camera to see the paintings in real size in your own environment with the help of so-called ar-technology (augmented reality).

You can also turn your own photos into classic works of art or take a selfie to see which famous portrait you resemble. Recently, the service was supplemented with cool Pet Portraits – which show which artwork your pet most resembles.

Also, do not miss the games section, which contains games and interactive services around the arts.

This is how Google Arts & Culture works

1. Search

Search for, for example, an artist or a painting.

2. Casta

View a work of art on your TV using Chromecast.

3. Selection

Google’s experts show a selection of images here.

4. Do more

Click on an image to read more, save, share and view it in different ways.

5. Translate

Do you want the texts translated into Swedish? Push here!

6. Home

Return to the start page (the one shown here)

7. Explore

Look for art through categories or selected themes.

8. Camera

Use the cool camera features.

9. Favorites

Save your favorites here – and create your own art galleries.

10. Play

Here you can play and play with puzzles, coloring books, quizzes, music games and much more.

11. Features

The camera functions are shown here.

Questions and answers about the service

Google Arts

1. How do I install in my mobile …

Open Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (Iphone / Ipad) and search for Google Arts & Culture. Read more about the app and install it. When you start using the app, you may need to give it permission to access, for example, your camera.

Google Arts

2. … and how do I do it on the computer?

On your computer, open your browser and browse artsandculture.google.com. A lot of content is identical in the computer and the mobile, but there are functions that only work in the app. In our guide, this is the one we focus on.

Google Arts

Can I save a favorite …

Artwork that you like, you can save as a favorite by tapping the icon with a heart. Everything you save is collected under the department Favorites. You can find it via the heart icon at the bottom right. Click once to display the image and twice to display an information page.

Google Arts

4. … and a gallery?

You can also create your own so-called galleries. They work much like a photo album and you can add photos, artists and more.

To create a gallery, tap the same heart icon as above and select Galleries. Press Create Galleryselect one or more photos from your favorites and then Continue. Give the gallery a title and a description and choose whether it should be private or public. Confirm with Done.

Google Arts

5. How do I use the camera?

The most fun feature in the app is connected to your camera. With it you can wander around in virtual galleries (Pocket Gallery), see what a life-size work of art looks like (Art Projector) or find art that uses the same colors as the picture you take (Color Palette). You can also turn a photo into a classic work of art (Art Transfer) or apply a characteristic filter (Art Filter).

Yes, you can even take a selfie or a picture of your pet (Art Selfie and Pet Portraits) to see which classic works of art you most resemble.

You can find all this by tapping the camera icon and scrolling with the icons at the bottom. Suddenly you can with others and check if you have as magical a smile as the Mona Lisa?