Ridin’ On Chrome – A Google Story

Google is ridiculous.

Why? Yes, because their company is in the dictionary. Yes, because the “Google Doodles” are always fun, topical, and genius.

But to me, it’s the smallest, least heard about project they are working on never ceases to amaze me. Take, for instance, this throwback to marble maze games.

Making Maps Cool.

This game  turns me into a kid. I become fascinated with this new toy that makes me drop everything else I was doing. Google’s Cube is simple, yet ties an old game into a relatively new bit of technology. This game turns the digital streets of New York and San Fran into a game. Why? Who knows, but it’s a fun little time waster and they certainly caught my attention.

Streets of San Francisco are a game now.

But this is not why I’m praising Google and the Chrome browser. My discovery this week (via awwwards.com) of Google’s new experiment: Chrome Web Lab, is what really has me on the Google bandwagon.

Not only is the Chrome Web Lab beautifully designed with its seamless scroll-down navigation, but it induces pure prepubescent-esque wonder. I would be lying if I told you I spent less than an hour playing with the various sections.

The Universal Orchestra

Australia is on drums, Russia is rocking the marimba, Italy is on vibraphone and I’m trying my best on the temple blocks. Regardless, we’re a global symphony, creating music based on our own experimentation. Only Google could bring this sort of magic to music, connecting different cultures who have developed listening to different (or maybe not!) genres of music. Whether it’s a digital device online, or the controls for the London Science Museum, this section is awe-inspiring.

Teleporter

Calm down, it’s not a real teleporter. Otherwise this wouldn’t be a little-known project, would it? Though, maybe not as fun as the Universal Orchestra, this project gives users a live look-in to somewhere in the world. You can choose between a bakery in North Carolina, a miniature model airport in Hamburg, or, my favorite, a Capetown aquarium.

While there’s nothing too new here in terms of live feeds, it’s interesting to see these places that one would usually not have access to. Again, Google is (literally) opening doors to worlds that some of us can’t even imagine.

Sketch Bot and Data Tracer

These two sections really bring people close to technology in kinda creepy ways. The first allows the user to take a picture of themselves to have it eventually drawn by a robot. That may not be the most flowery way to describe it, but re-read the sentence. A robot is drawing your portrait, meaning it’s recognizing your face.

Secondly, there’s the Data Tracer. Now, I know two types of people: people who have Googled themselves, and liars. The data tracer is sorta creepy if you apply to that first group, because if you Google your name and select your picture, Data Tracer can show where your photo is being hosted. One of mine is being hosted in Dallas. I’ve never been there. Oh well.

Overall

This website is way too fun, and represents just another step Google and Chrome are taking towards becoming the most revolutionary digital company. Is  Google Glasses a terrifying concept? Yes, one step closer to Futurama’s EyePhone. But for now, I’ll embrace technology, especially if it’s as interactive as Google’s latest projects.

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