Google has launched a Window Wonderland map tool – enabling global fans of NYC's iconic Christmas window displays to explore them completely remotely, and with plenty of added extras.
By accessing a dedicated website from smartphones or desktops, users can take a virtual tour of 18 of Manhattan's most famous window displays, including department stores Barney's, Lord & Taylor and Macy's, and luxury fashion brands Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, Fendi and Louis Vuitton.
The tool emulates Google's Street View feature. Hundreds of images of windows have been taken by Google and merged together to create a life-like panorama, which can be navigated by using the arrows on a computer or swiping on a mobile. Users can even zoom in and out to get a closer look.
For added realism, those with a VR headset such as Google Cardboard can enjoy the immersive benefit of hearing surrounding street sounds. There's also an audio guide option, which enables users to listen to each store's creative director talking about the theme, history and preparation process of the window display (see also Exploiting Insider Access).
While there's no direct shoppability as yet (the imagery is neither connected to a live feed nor inventory-integrated), a button accompanying each store does redirect users to the retailer's e-commerce site. Alternatively, they can click on a 'Shop Gifts on Google' button to search for items via Google's own shopping search tool.