Over the past few months, I have developed very mixed feelings about the internet giant Google. I hate to see how Google is draining the life out of the newspaper industry, slurping up all the advertising dollars that once paid for investigative journalism, foreign bureaus, and very fat papers. All that has largely fallen by the way for many newspapers, who are now firmly focussed on survival.
But having said that, I can see that someone very high up the food chain at Google is passionate about archaeology. On November 25th, I wrote about the 3-D laser scanning project that Google is funding at the Iraq National Museum. The intent is to bring the treasures of Mesopotamia and other ancient civilizations from the region to scholars around the world. It’s a wonderful plan.
Now Google has done something else that I really like. It has just posted a Street View of Pompeii, and it’s very, very cool. You are free to navigate the narrow stony streets of the ancient city at your desk, stopping to take a gawk at the market stalls and a spin around the forum. And all on a beautiful, blue-skied day in southern Italy.