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    29 March 2021

    Nafisa Akabor

    App Review: Google Arts & Culture

    Google has partnered with South African Tourism to launch an online exhibition for anyone to explore its collection of multimedia content.

    South Africa: An Explorer’s Paradise is made up of more than 500 images and videos, 55 Street Views, and 20 digital stories. You can access it via a web browser on g.co/sharesouthafrica or on the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS and Android.

    Given the effects of COVID-19 on the global and local tourism industry, the new exhibition offers audiences a safer, virtual way to explore the best that South Africa has to offer.

    Google South Africa’s country director Alistair Mokoena says this innovative idea is a way to promote South Africa’s heritage and destinations and prompt people to visit the country as soon as travel becomes possible again.

    So, how do you get to the exhibition? We’ve been exploring the content on the Google Arts & Culture app and found that the easiest way to save everything is by simply typing “South African Tourism” and “favouriting” the result using the heart icon. Once you’re on the main landing page of the app, you can access it on the extreme right tab, indicated by the same heart icon. This appears alongside other menu items like home, browse, camera and location. South African Tourism will appear as a collection, and you can go directly into the various pieces of content, like stories, locations, images, museums, etc.

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    I found the Stories section particularly interesting and learnt a bit about some of the beautiful areas in South Africa: from those I’ve not explored before, those I didn’t know existed, and even places I’ve been to and had thought I knew.

    For example, I’ve visited Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga before, but there’s a piece called “Rock of Ages: 5 Things to Know about Bourke’s Luck Potholes” and it lists facts about it that I didn’t know.

    You can also enter a Street View mode to explore as if you’re right there. It brought back memories of my visit, and for me, returning to familiar places was just as cool as learning about new ones. The videos accompanying the parks play inside the app but are also available on YouTube. It also features basic info you can favourite or share.

    Under the Favourites tab, you can also create galleries and share them publicly to anyone with the link. This feature is suited for travel enthusiasts, content creators and bloggers who want to curate content. Be sure to check out the “Play with Arts & Culture” section for some quick puzzles and games, such as visual crosswords, party puzzles, and art colouring books.

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    The Google Arts & Culture app with the new SA Tourism content is a wonderful way to learn about South Africa, especially when it may not be possible to physically make the journey there. A must-download for both children and adults to kill time over the holidays and it’s available for free on both mobile platforms.

    Download the Android app here.

    Download the iOS app here.

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    Nafisa Akabor