As technology continues to open new portals into cultural preservation, Google has launched a new machine learning tool that will provide users with the ability to decode Egyptian hieroglyphs in both English and Arabic with just a tap of the finger. Titled Fabricius, the artificial-intelligence powered platform found on the free Google Arts & Culture app is an interactive way to experience the priceless heritage of one of the most powerful ancient civilizations in the world.
Transforming a curated selection of knowledge, art, and other cultural treasures from over 2000 international institutions into virtual or augmented reality, high-resolution imagery, Street View, and other innovative digital formats, Fabricius is democratizing access to this invaluable portion of Arab history. Split into three sections—learn, play, and work—the newly released software gives curious historians-at-heart the opportunity to discover the beauty of the ancient Egyptian language. While browsing through the app, each section is interspersed with interesting facts about the past to encourage widespread learning about the nation’s rich legacy.
Created in collaboration with Australian Center for Egyptology at Macquarie University, a series of tracing and drawing exercises help users become more familiar with the 1000-plus symbols of the vast logographic writing system. As you form a better understanding of each hieroglyph’s meaning, you can also write and share your own playful messages while professional Egyptologists can access the “work” section for a helpful tool that collects, catalogs, and translates this traditional form of communication all in one place.
“We are very excited to be launching this new tool that can make it easier to access and learn about the rich culture of Ancient Egypt,” said Google Arts and Culture head of reservations Chance Coughenour. “For over a decade, Google has been capturing imagery of cultural and historical landmarks across the region, from Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, and more, while making it available on Maps, Street View and Google Arts & Culture. Together with our partners, we remain committed to promoting the rich history and heritage of the region, and to make it accessible to everyone.”
From the Pyramids of Giza and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra, Google been giving home-stuck travelers the chance to virtually explore many of the Arab world’s most famous cultural wonders until they can visit in person once again while digital exhibitions of important regional sites are also just a click away. Google Doodles are another way the search engine pays homage to significant people and milestone events in the region’s history, from Egypt’s first female lawyer to cinematic icons, demonstrating the unlimited potential of technology in bridging cultural barriers and connecting people across the world one app at a time.