Ten ‘Chrome Experiments’ in WebGL that you MUST see


What are Chrome Experiments? Simply put, they are interesting bits of coding that use some of the latest open technologies (e.g. HTML5, Canvas, SVG, and especially WebGL) in a browser setting (not necessarily Chrome).

The Google Chrome connection comes from the fact that Google have set up a website to showcase these coding ‘experiments’.

This post will feature 10 Chrome Experiments that we loved here at Freewaregenius. Check them out and consider that you may be looking at the art form of the next century.

Note on WebGL: it is a web based graphics language that utilizes JavaScript to implement 3D graphics in the browser. The experiments below all have a significant 3D graphics component, and some will require a capable graphics card to run.

10 Google Experiments

Here’s the list:

1. The WebGL Globes

Animated globes for data visualization. Two globes are offered by default, although you could make your own

Google Search Volume by Language

Google Search Volume by Language Screenshot
Displays search volumes in each language as bars on an interactive globe. If you’ve ever wondered what three cities generate the most Google English searches, or whether more Spanish language searches are generated in Madrid vs. Mexico city. Actually, its more of a toy than anything else, but is very cool.

Google Population Globe

Population Globe Screenshot

2. WebGL Bookcase

WebGL Bookcase screenshot
For those who miss the days when you went to an actual, physical bookstore to browse books, a ‘virtual bookcase’ in 3D, that will, incidentally, link you to Google books for the book itself, or if not available there to Amazon or Google Play.

3. Google Gravity

Google Gravity Screenshot
You can think of this as a  glimpse of what the Google search page would look like in Krypton (Superman’s home planet), where gravity is much stronger 😉

4. Cube

Cube Screenshot1Cube Screenshot2

We mentioned this one previously on this site (see here). Cube is an game that creates playable levels out of Google Maps data. Check it out!

5. Ctrl Paper

ctrl paper screenshot2ctrl paper screenshot1

This site will let you ‘populate’ its 3D environment with your personal 3D character that you create, and that you could subsequently print to PDF to transform into an actual paper model.

If you have kids you (and they) will enjoy this one.

6. The Wilderness Downtown

The Wilderness Downtown Screenshot1The Wilderness Downtown Screenshot2

This is an interactive music video for The Arcade Fire’s “We Used to Wait” (reminiscent of another interactive music video previously mentioned on this site), and it’s totally awesome.  It integrates with your desktop and will ask for the address of the house where you grew up, and will then integrate Google Maps images of your neighborhood into the video. Is this is a glimpse of the future of the music videos as a genre?

7. WebGL Aquarium

WebGL Aquarium screenshot

It must be something in the human psyche, that we cannot resist looking at fish doing their thing, which is why I am adding this one to the list. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but a great way to showcase WebGL 3D graphics in the browser.

8. 3 Dreams of Black

Another interactive music video style experiment. This one combines modeled 3D environments with 2D animation and video (hence the 3 dreams), and lets you have some degree of control over the vantage point throughout. Most of what you see is being rendered, and is not video. Overall very cool.

9. Streetview Sterographic

Streetview Stereographic Screenshot
A dual Google Map view with a slightly different approach: the ‘streetview’ images are strung together in a 360-degree bird’s eye view, which despite being somewhat odd is strangely appealing.

10. Toki Toki digital clock

Toki Toki screenshot

This one makes it on the list for originality alone. Such a simple concept.