International tech powerhouse Google seems intent on rivalling school travel companies, as their latest innovation allows students to take a series of ‘virtual field trips’ through a high-tech program.

Dubbed ‘Connected Classrooms’, this new initiative makes full use of the potentialities of Google Hangouts, the company’s conference-call software, to allow students from different locations to join one another in virtual tours of a number of attractions worldwide. The students can therefore be in contact in real time as the high-tech simulation leads them through their monument or venue of choice. The conference-call program also allows the children to liaise with experts, who can clarify any doubts and offer additional information about the location at hand.

With this project, the new media powerhouse seeks to offer an alternative to field trips, for schools or pupils who do not have the means to embark on a ‘real’ initiative of this sort — although, in truth, it is not likely to have a real impact on the valuable real life experiences school travel companies can provide. It is joined in this venture by some of the leading cultural facilities worldwide, including the Seattle Aquarium, the American Museum of Natural History and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as geography and tourism publication National Geographic. These partners should further help grant the project credibility.

Connected Classrooms’s main claim to fame so far is the initiative it put together for America’s “Take Your Children To Work Day”. On this specific date, celebrated in late April, the company coordinated a selection of no less than 18 field trips to some of the country’s main places of interest, allowing children to go to work with their parents and engage in activities of similar interest to them.

Connected Classrooms is just the latest in a series of initiatives put together by Google to extend its sphere of influence in the global market.

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