Back in the late 1980s, the thing called “internet” was just a dream of a handful of scholars dreaming about sharing information quickly and easily among universities. By the early 1990s, in turn, it has become a reality: a network of interconnected computers that everyone – not just students and professors – could use to send instant messages to each other, to share their research and information, to play games. It only took a short time for most countries to get connected – and a few decades for the entire world to do the same.
Today, the internet has become much more than just a network for sharing information and keeping in touch. It is a medium through which we can keep up with the news, see far away lands, research, learn, and play. It is perhaps the most widely used entertainment medium today, with billions of people able to watch movies, listen to music, play casino games, and spend endless hours on social media. There are, in turn, many more entertainment options that can be accessed online by anyone.
Art collections and museums
One of the most laudable initiatives by Alphabet is Google Arts & Culture, an online interface through which anyone can visit the collections of many museums and galleries over the internet. It is more than a simple collection of digital reproductions of the paintings hosted by these – it offers visitors virtual tours (Google Street View-style) so they can explore the interiors of the buildings themselves.
And Google Arts & Culture is not limited to museums and galleries – with it, you can explore landmarks like the Kiramchi temple complex in India, the Temple of Concordia in Italy’s Valley of the Temples or even the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece
Plays and events
If your idea of a good time is visiting a theater and watching a play but you can’t afford flying across half the world to see your favorite actor live, there is always an alternative: streaming. There are services focused on streaming stage plays online, like BroadwayHD in the US and Digital Theatre in the UK. Both of them are subscription-based – the first one costs $8.99 a month, the second, £9.99 – but they sure beat the cost of airfare to London or New York.
Many other events are also available for online streaming. Aside from the product launches and the workshops of the tech world, you usually have the chance to stream at least parts of music festivals, concerts, and similar events.
Landscapes and nature
How many of you have dreamed of visiting the vast fields of Alaska or the volcanoes of Hawai’i but could never find the time or the funds to do so? Well, if you are ready to settle for a virtual visit, Google has you covered.
The US National Parks Service has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to offer virtual tours of some of their most attractive locations: the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and the Dry Tortugas national park in Florida. All these can be explored virtually at any time – all you need is an internet-connected device and some free time.