As we’ve seen online video grow tremendously over the last couple of years, the potential of its reach as an educational tool, or an enticement to learn more, is being worked out in impressive ways.  Take a look at Google’s World Wonders Project, which was announced Thursday and currently sits with a simple link on the search engine’s home page.  Click on the link and you’ll get to explore a whole chunk of the world, which combines Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Earth, and YouTube videos to guide you through some pretty awesome landmarks.

Google’s World Wonders Project Is, In Itself, A Multimedia Wonder

Let’s take a look at Google’s video announcing the project:

So the first thing I saw when I clicked on this link is the Palace and Park of Versailles.  And immediately I got this great Google Street View outside the Palace, where I could “walk” around.  But I was interested in the video here.  How much video would there be?  Well, the Versailles site has quite a bit.  It has a “featured videos” section but it also allows you to click on “user videos.”  Here’s just one of the featured videos for Versailles:

It looks like you could become a bonafide expert on any of these landmarks, since you can explore it in so many ways.  You’ve got pictures, videos, and text all combining to provide so much information and context.

I truly think stuff like this, along with the Popcorn.js project, is the way we’re going to be doing our learning in the future.  When you can combine all the resources in the world onto one dedicated page, it’s almost like being there yourself.  And while it isn’t a true substitute for actually being there, it’s as close as it gets, and probably will inspire others to make the trip.