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View the Windows of the World Courtesy of Google+
By: Aprel Phelps Downey
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A pack of wild elephants runs across an African safari desert in the middle of a rainstorm. The emotional changing of the guards takes place each hour at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The Eiffel tower in Paris illuminated at night and the Roman coliseum guarding secrets of chariot races from ancient times. There are lakes, waterfalls, and forests as far as the eye can see across the globe. Each of these settings offers us a window to the beauty of our world. A million more picturesque windows to the world remain.

John Butterill, an avid photographer, has found a way to bring the windows of the world into our homes courtesy of the Google+ hangout feature.

It all started when Butterill embarked on an adventure canoeing down a lake. He became moved by the scenery that was unfolding before him and inspiration struck. He attached his smartphone to the camera, creating the ability to record a live feed of the beautiful scenery around him. Once home, he uploaded this video to YouTube, sharing it with the world. It quickly became an overnight viral sensation.

One of the viewers of this video was a woman who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, confined to a bed for the last ten years of her life. Her everyday worldview consists of a small portion of a wooden fence and two bird feeders perched just outside of her bedroom window. For that small period of time while viewing that video she was able to escape the confines of her bedroom and visit another corner of the world.

She soon got in touch with Mr. Butterill and the two made plans for a virtual photo shoot. He provided the scenery and the camera. She witnessed the scenery from her computer screen, directing his picture shots throughout their virtual walk together. Mr. Butterill once again posted the video of his journey online and virtualphotowalk.org was born.

Photographers across the globe got in touch with Mr. Butterill, wanting to offer their photography skills to take others on a virtual photo walk. Each photographer established a Goggle+ account where interested viewers could join their circle of friends. Photographers attach a smartphone to their camera in order to provide live feeds of the images they witness in person. This live feed is broadcast onto computer screens across the world utilizing the Google+ circle of friends hangout feature. Viewers can interact with one another and the photographer by way of their computer web cameras.

As a result of Mr. Butterill’s simple act of kindness, disabled veterans have visited war memorials honoring their service and sacrifice. Others have journeyed to national ceremonies and world-famous landmarks in spite of physical health limitations and financial hardships.

The windows of the world have been opened courtesy of Google+, smartphones, and a man with a creative spirit!  

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About the Author
Aprel Phelps Downey is a writing/marketing professional who holds more than seven years marketing experience, including all aspects of promotional and informational campaigns and website development.  To learn more about Aprel please visit her website at www.aprelphelpsdowney.com or follow her on twitter: @aphelpsdowney.
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