Google Street Art ProjectGoogle’s Cultural Institute has launched Street Art, an online depository of over 5000 graffiti images from around the world as part of its Google Art Project.

“The transient nature of street art means it can be at risk of being scrubbed out and lost forever to its legions of fans,” Google’s Lucy Schwartz wrote on the official Google blog. “But long after the paint has faded from the walls, technology can help preserve street art, so people can discover it wherever and whenever they like… Street art may be temporary on our walls and sidewalks, but its beauty and vibrancy live on, on the web.”

The collections of art, from Bogota to Lisbon to Manila, include some that have been painted over or are now inaccessible to the public – such as the 5 Pointz space in New York, which was whitewashed ahead of being demolished. Using their Street View technology, which allows you to wander around in virtual 3D space, you can actually enter some of the locations and fully explore them, such as the nine-floor Tour Paris 13.

It’s an extension of the Google Art Project, which allows you to ‘walk into’ museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Van Gogh Museum, and explore the exhibits. The project has now grown to nearly 70,000 artworks.

The street art collection is the latest example of Google’s growing curatorial impulse – since launching the Cultural Institute they’ve made other exhibition-like collections such as Women in Culture, Made in Italy and Stories of the Holocaust.

Photo above: A screenshot from Google’s Street Art collection. Photograph: Google