Bet your other browser can’t do this
Chrome Experiments came to life in 2009, when Google decided to showcase what is possible to do inside a browser. Mostly using technologies such as HTML5, Canvas, SVG, and WebGL, the hundreds of submissions in the Chrome Experiments library are pushing the limits of modern browsers and making the case for computing inside the browser.
We picked the coolest and most fun projects to date, including ones that let you control the screen with your phone, take over your webcam, or show stunning visualizations.
Chrome World Wide Maze
World Wide Maze turns your phone into a controller for a novel game that can incorporate your favorite website. After you pair your phone and computer via the browser, you pick a website. The site then transforms into a 3D maze that you navigate with a ball by tilting your phone. Some websites can take a while to process in the game, so make sure to try a simple site first.
The game Racer uses up to five smartphones or tablets to create a circuit on which you and your friends can race. Once you’ve paired the phones together via the browser, you line them up to form the track, and then you start racing by touching the screen, carefully slowing down around the corners so that you don’t fly off. Racer works across Android and iOS devices.
Roll It is a modern take on the classic skee-ball game. You use your phone to aim and throw the ball on the computer screen. You can play with up to two friends in turns, and as you progress you’ll find special balls such as the Hover Ball, which stops in midair and gives you a few seconds to redirect it to a precise hole.
If everything that goes up must come down, Google Gravity keeps true to the rule. Simple but fun, this experiment literally breaks down your Google Search results and stacks them on top of one another the more you search. Even cooler, if you shake the browser window, the pieces react to that, too.
Usually you get these sorts of effects for your webcam with dedicated software, but Webcam Toy lets you apply over 70 types of live effects to your webcam through your browser. It can also take photos and save them to your computer for sharing on social networks, just for a bit of fooling around in front of the computer.
Webcam Music lets you create a song when you move in front of your computer's webcam. You have four rhythm areas in each corner of the screen, and “touching” them activates the melody. You can play around by overlapping the tunes with your arms, or boogie down and see what happens.
The Google Data Arts Team put together this stunning interactive visualization of our stellar neighborhood, showing the real location of some 100,000 nearby stars. You can zoom in through the stars and find the names of the major celestial bodies and our own solar system. Astronomy beginners can take the guided tour of our galaxy, too.
In Cube, a game based on Google Maps, you have to roll a ball through a city maze and guide it to the indicated destination by tilting the cube. What’s even more interesting is that this is actually a tutorial for Google Maps functions—each level covers one or more features. You also get to use the London Underground and navigate the interior of the Mall of America as you progress through levels.
If you want to test your geography knowledge, try GeoGuessr, which lets you explore the globe with Google Street View and guess where in the world that street is. After you pan and zoom around to get a feeling of where you are, you have to place a pin on a map with your guess. The closer you are to the real spot, the more points you get, and you have five rounds in each game to reach the highest score.
GigaPan Time Machine
Created by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the GigaPan Time Machine lets you travel through time and space. Using satellite data, each interactive illustration is a “time machine.” For example, the time machine shown here, called Blue Marble, animates through time the color of the surface of the earth for each month of 2004. You can zoom in on any area, and at full zoom each pixel represents a width of 1600 feet.
Speak Colors links your voice and the browser, so you can speak the names of colors and see the screen background change to match. You can also have the occasional laugh when the experiment fails to get the color you are saying and speaks it back at you.
Super Sync Sports
Super Sync Sports is another game that makes use of your phone or tablet to control the gameplay on screen, but this time the activities include running, cycling, and swimming. You pair your phone to the computer, and up to four friends can play at the same time. To bicycle, you rub the screen with two fingers in a circular motion. To swim or run, you drag your fingers on the display.
Jam With Chrome
Jam with Chrome lets up to four buddies play music in real time, with 19 instruments of choice. Think of it as a virtual garage practice with your band. In easy mode, you click individual strings, drum pads, or keys, with four different autoplay functions for most instruments, including the beat machines. If you go pro, you can play any instrument using the keyboard, with keys assigned for each string.
Z-Type puts a different spin on the classic shoot-’em-up game by getting your typing skills involved: You shoot by typing the words on screen. If you make typos, you’ll fail to kill all the enemies, and your quick typing speed will be challenged the further you get into the game.
Best Chrome apps
Anyone who says you can’t get real work done in a Web browser—or in a browser-based operating system, for that matter—hasn't seen some of the latest Chrome apps.