Explore the Great Barrier Reef and Buckingham Palace in VR

You could already explore the Great Barrier Reef via Google’s Street View, but now, technology is taking you one step closer — and still without ever requiring your departure from your couch. Thanks to new destinations added to Google Expeditions, you can now visit the Australian underwater phenomena, Buckingham Palace, and a number of other exciting global hotspots in one of the most exciting virtual reality experiences so far created. The additions are all part of the Expeditions Pioneer Program, an educational program featuring virtual reality technology (and lots of Google Cardboards) that allows teachers to “take their classes on immersive virtual journeys to bring their lessons to life.”

The program is totally free for educators, and is comprised of over 100 engaging journeys that give the idea of a “hands-on” experience a whole new meaning. First introduced at last year’s I/O conference, Expeditions now boasts an Android app so that classes can use mobile devices to go halfway around the world. Already used by 500,000 students around the world, the program is sure to grow as students become able to connect their lessons with, well, a sort of reality.

The new Great Barrier Reef VR experience, designed and produced by Sir David Attenborough and Alchemy VR, gives kids and teens (and everyone else, for that matter) the opportunity to dive beneath the ocean’s surface to more carefully examine the coral structure. And as for Buckingham Palace, a 360-degree tour will take you on a “virtual field trip” of sorts, with footage of the incredible residence shot just last week.

To create the impressive tour, Google and The Royal Collection Trust set up 16 Google jump cameras on circular tripods, allowing them to capture a single shot from multiple angles at the same time. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth’s luxurious lodgings were among the most requested VR destinations on Google, along with the White House and, of course, outer space.

So if you’re looking to go on vacation (or at least scope your next one out), check out Google Expeditions for inspiration.

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