History can be seen as the sum of great stories, but it's through personal tales that we feel the impact of historic events. Google's latest project helps to give major world events such as the Holocaust, apartheid and D-Day more of an impact by incorporating real-life details into a multimedia history lesson.
Partnering with museums and foundations around the world, the Google Cultural Institute has paired text with photos, handwritten notes and other media to bring the stories behind major world events to life.
Several of the digital exhibits focus on the Holocaust experience at Auschwitz. "May 1944 — The Auschwitz Album" walks you through the horror of life at a concentration camp, with images and quotes from survivors. "Tragic Love at Auschwitz" tells the heartbreaking story of two doomed lovers.
Some of the stories focus on positive events, like "The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II." Others offer lighter takes on topics, such as "1954 – 1965: Years of La Dolce Vita," which tells the story of Italy during the time of Federico Fellini's movie "La Dolce Vita," complete with newsreels in Italian.
The stories are told through a horizontal, scrolling interface that works particularly well on a tablet. You can click on images to get larger views with details about the source. Videos play within the page, so you can continue the narrative without switching windows.
Google Cultural Institute has taken advantage of the digital medium before through projects such as World Wonders and Google Art Project. The aim of the group is to build tools that make it simple to tell the stories of diverse cultural heritage and make them accessible worldwide.