Google makes Diwali virtual with AR experience, interactive tools

In a bid to recreate some festival fervour in the social distancing times, Google has created a virtual Diwali experience that everyone can be a part of — via a new Augmented Reality (AR) experience.

Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 20 cultural heritage organisations to launch Diwali @Home.

“Striking images and immersive online stories weave a journey through the festival of lights, its legends and folklore, and dive into the sights, sounds and smells of an iconic festival,” the company said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“Decorate your space virtually with diyas (lamps), detonate virtual anar (firecrackers), for some explosive, playful fun, and watch how your space sparkles!”

The colours, food, festivities and nostalgia of Diwali are being shared through new online exhibitions from partner institutions including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Indian Museum, National Museum and many more.

“There’s also plenty of hands-on fun for families with an interactive Diwali colouring book. Find it with Google Search, simply by searching for “Diwali” on your phone”.

One can watch a video conversation between Amish Tripathi, author and Director of The Nehru Centre in London, and Neil MacGregor, art historian, broadcaster and former museum director, on Diwali and why it’s particularly special this year.