In what it calls an effort to "truly make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 'The People’s House'," as described in a White House press release, the President and First Lady have invited Google Street View into the public rooms of their home.
The making of this virtual White House tour is part of Google's Art Project, which started last year, and uses the same technology that is well known for mapping images of public streets. More recently Google Street View technology has taken to snapping panoramic images of interior spaces.
“The White House isn’t simply a home to First Families or meeting space for world leaders, it’s also known as ‘The People’s House,’ a place that should be open to everyone. And that’s why we’ve made it a priority to invite young people, military families, and Americans of all ages to join us here at the White House,” Mrs. Obama said in a video welcoming digital users to explore the White House, which has seen more than 2.5 million in-person tours since Obama took office. “Thousands of people have walked these halls and gazed at the artwork. They’ve examined the portraits of Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy. They’ve imagined the history that’s unfolded here. And now you can do all of that without leaving your home. So go ahead, look around, enjoy the history and the beauty of these rooms. Because after all, this is your house, too.”
Watch Mrs. Obama's description of the 360-degree virtual tour of the White House:
Check out this behind the scenes video for more information on the project:
The virtual tour will give users the experience that they would have gotten had they taken a public tour of the White House. Take a look around here.
In addition to the tour, as part of Google Art Project, the painting of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart that hangs in the East Room of the White House was also photographed in extremely high resolution -- called the gigapixel -- to let the public take an unprecedented, virtual look at the details of the piece.