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Google unveils Google Shophouse in Singapore

Zafirah Salim | July 31, 2015
Google launches digital tributes for SG50, including a new app, and new Cultural Institute and Street View collections.

Screenshot of Google's Singapore Time Walk app

As part of SG50 celebrations, Google launched yesterday the opening of Google Shophouse, an interactive pop-up where visitors can experience first-hand some of Google's array of new products.

Since shophouses are a symbol of Singapore's heritage and history, this Google Shophouse will serve as a new way for Singaporeans to explore the nation's history through technology, said Joanna Flint, Country Director of Google Singapore.

The first of such technology displayed at the Shophouse is the Singapore Time Walk app. Developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the app allows users to explore Singapore landmarks like the former City Hall and Old Supreme Court in new ways.

Leveraging the Google Maps API, this app enables users to pull out more information about the location and interact with the landmark to see historic images and animations of the same location overlaid on the modern app. It is also Google's birthday gift to Singapore, and will be further developed to feature the Jubilee Walk later this year.

Another highlight of the Google Shophouse is the Cultural Institute initiative, which aims to make artwork accessible to anyone, everywhere at anytime. The NHB first joined this initiative in 2012, and now URA and the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) have also joined in to bring around 400 images, including seven new curated exhibits, of Singaporean art, heritage, artifacts and stories online.

Additionally, the NHB and SAM are also launching new mobile apps that allow people to explore and share curated collections, as well as get directions and museum information.

Visitors can also see more than 40 new street view locations from Singapore, which will be published on Google Maps for the first time. Some of these locations that are now available for virtual exploration include national parks, as well as heritage sites and attractions. The technology behind Street View, like the Google Trekker and Trolley, will also be displayed at the Shophouse.

The final exhibit is a Doodle 4 Google gallery. Themed Singapore: The next 50 years, the competition encourages Singapore's youth to imagine the country's future and show how they think they can contribute to the nation's continued growth. Doodles from the 25 finalists will be displayed at the Shophouse, including the winning doodle by 8-year-old Moh Journ Haydn, which will be featured on Google's Singapore homepage on Singapore's National Day.

"In our SG50 year, many Singaporeans have shown an even greater interest to reflect on Singapore's history, and rediscover our rich and diverse cultural heritage. Technology is a good enabler for us to do so and this Google Shophouse will allow many to have access to the Singapore Story," said Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth. "This is a timely initiative for our Jubilee Year and I look forward to seeing more of such public-private partnerships in presenting and preserving our heritage gems and national treasures."


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