Google have launched a breathtaking example of the capabilities of HTML 5, using Arcade Fire’s “We Used To Wait” song and music-video director Chris Milk’s film. Google has been working on the project for the last few months to demonstrate modern web technologies.
“The Wilderness Downtown” website currently only works with Google’s “Chrome” browser and on loading the site you are asked to enter your postcode from where you grew up. After entering this information the site goes blank and the Arcade Fire song begins. A video in a pop-up window appears showing a boy running down a street. Then after a minute, you realise why the site asked you for your address – a series of pop-up windows show moving images from Google Maps of the area you used to live in. The imagery works in harmony with the music, with new pop-ups and Google Maps scenery flashing up in time with the scructure of the song.
Another fantastic feature are the flocks of birds which suddenly fly into one window and through to another seamlessly – I can see this having so many potential uses in the future.
Towards the end of the song, you are presented with a page to write on, using an integrated drawing tool. As you write using your keyboard or mouse, letters start to form and grow like trees, adding branches to the sentences. It’s spectacular to watch the words come to life.
To avoid spoiling the ending of the presentation for you, I will skip what happens at the end but it’s very exciting to see how you can integrate animation with Google Maps.
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