Explore the World without Leaving Your House 11 Jun 12

With Google’s new World Wonders Project, you can cross things off your bucket list without stepping foot outside your home. Well, maybe it’s not quite the same as experiencing something in person, but it’s still really cool.

The project allows you to see and explore some of the world’s greatest natural, historic, and man-made wonders via the internet. In a way, it’s very much like the Street View feature which is already very popular on Google Maps, but, instead of looking at ordinary streets, users can virtually travel through places like Pompeii, Stonehenge, Yosemite, and Shark Bay.

There are currently 132 sites from 18 countries on the World Wonders Project, and you can immerse yourself in each location just as if you were really there. Once at your destination, you have a 360 degree view of the area, so you can choose to go left or right, get a closer look at something, or wander down a side street. Additionally, each place is accompanied with information, You Tube videos, photography, and 3D models.

Are you wondering how they managed such a project? Essentially, it all boiled down to guys riding around on camera-outfitted trikes (one of those jobs you wish you could have). Google realized they couldn’t get “off the beaten track” with the cars they were using for their Street View tool, so they sent in the trikes to get up close and personal.

Also, the World Wonders Project has great potential as an educational resource as students can use it to take virtual field trips and see historical and geographical sites as they appear today. The tool can make these places come to life instead of seeming like something abstract and out of reach, and the project even offers free, downloadable teacher guides.

So, if you aren’t able to take your dream vacation this summer, exploring the sites on the World Wonders Project has got to be the next best thing.