Nightly News   |  March 11, 2013

For isolated, Google+ offers new reality

Virtual Photo Walks allow photographers to capture and share ‘tours’ of popular locations all over the world, giving people a sense of connectedness that they ordinarily wouldn’t have. NBC’s Ann Curry reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> announcer: making a difference, brought to you by pfizer.

>>> finally tonight our making a difference report is about a chance to see the world without ever leaving home. it's an innovative idea aimed at those who can't travel. thanks to technology and a growing number of photographers willing to let us eaves drop on what they are seeing. our report tonight from nbc's ann curry .

>>> monica malone would love to travel the world.

>> i had always wanted to go.

>> reporter: to rome ?

>> yeah, to rome .

>> reporter: but she can't move even a few steps without pain, much less make it up a flight of stairs.

>> i'm going to just take a break.

>> reporter: diagnosed at 15 with lupus which causes her immune system to attack her organs, she spent most of her life indoors.

>> sometimes it feels like being stuck in a cage. you know, i can see out the window. i can log onto the internet. but those are my windows to reality.

>> reporter: until she met a photographer on a social network , google plus, and discovered there was a way she could finally see rome .

>> look at this.

>> oh!

>> for a brief second i thought, wow. if i could only have a cup of cappuccino i'd feel like i was there.

>> reporter: all because of john butterall who got an idea and thought, why not?

>> one day i was out taking pictures and i thought, how cool would it be to attach a phone to your camera and hang out with five, ten people and they would see what i was seeing through the viewfinder of my camera.

>> reporter: in one year some 200 other professional photographers signed on for what he calls virtual photo walks.

>> can you see what i'm seeing at the moment?

>> reporter: taking the disabled, hospitalized and elderly all over the world. encurrent currentlcouraging them to help f rame photos they want to keep.

>> right there.

>> reporter: these people got to virtual photo walk to pearl harbor . among them, bill shackleford and he'd like to meet the photographer.

>> i appreciate it very much. i would like to thank him personally.

>> reporter: monica hopes nobody will have to feel as lonely and isolated as she did.

>> this has the potential to affect, especially so many children's lives. if they can just interact with people and know that the world has not left them behind.

>> reporter: someone wrote your name in the sand.

>> that's in hawaii. yep.

>> reporter: you were there.

>> yep. yeah.

>> reporter: no longer alone, monica is now traveling the world. ann curry , nbc news, boulder, colorado.