Google Street View had experimented with extending the service on a commercial basis inside some shops and universities, but the north´s very own University of Sheffield has claimed the honour of being the first institution with buildings you can ´step inside´ from Google´s all-seeing Street View service.
And it is not just one building; seven buildings in total are now fully open for prospective students, staff – or just nosy parkers – to have a look inside.
The images boast enough detail to read the title of a book on a shelf and you can even climb onto the roof and see vistas of Sheffield.
The university´s pro-vice-chancellor for learning and teaching, Prof Paul White, said: "The digital world is the future. Online education provides a means for the University of Sheffield to engage with learners from around the world and in circumstances we would otherwise never be able to reach out too."
The university´s commitment to digitising much of its resources has also led to a new initiative offering free online courses to learners across the globe. So far almost 1,000 people from countries including Brazil, Ethiopia and Nepal, have signed up to the first three MOOCs (massive open online courses) in healthy sustainable diets, health inequalities and health technology assessment.
A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: "Unlike other similar courses offered online [we] have established a unique platform for lecturers to share reading material, interactive quizzes and academic papers with learners – making the course much more engaging."
Dr Michelle Holdsworth, of the school of health and related research, said: "Learners will be able to participate in webinars in real time and interact with fellow pupils and academics, as well as being able to pause the tutorials and watch them at whatever time suits them – whether that is in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning."