New Chrome Experiment Turns Any Desktop Website Into A 3D Game You Control With Your Phone

Google Japan has just put out what looks to be one of the more interesting Chrome experiments to date. This latest online demo lets you sync up your computer and mobile device, turning any website into a 3D, playable game which you can control with your smartphone or the arrow keys on your Mac or PC.

Chrome Experiments, for those unfamiliar, were first launched in 2009 as a way to showcase cutting edge browser technologies using HTML5, JavaScript, and WebGL, among other things. As of last September, the homepage had accumulated around 500 of these experiments. Some of these are better than others. For example, this February, Google teamed up with Disney and Unit9 on an experiment based on the movie “Oz The Great and Powerful” which offered an interactive journey through Kansas, leading players to Oz.

But this new 3D “Maze” Chrome experiment is pretty amazing, too, if not one of the best ever. The site, as explained above, allows you to transform any website into a 3D maze. It actually tilts the website on its side, and then you use your phone like a game controller to roll a shiny, silver ball through what used to be the website’s graphics.

Chrome World Wide Maze

Of course, I tried it with TechCrunch.

It works.

To get started, you have to login to the site using Chrome on both your desktop and phone (iOS or Android), then sync your browser tabs. Alternately, you can also manually type in the link or scan a QR code to sync your two browsing sessions. I’m not going to lie – the sync process was not flawless. Sometimes it disconnected me for no apparent reason, and sometimes the game played, but the smartphone-turned-controller didn’t seem to work.

Chrome World Wide Maze-2

But when it did work, it was kind of awesome.

The experience is meant to showcase HTML5 accelerometer support, mobile to web sync using websockets, and web page slicing based on DOM and image processing…or so explains this guy on Hacker News. (The website itself doesn’t link to an explanation, it seems.)

If you’re thinking that this looks like what Brass Monkey is up to, you’re partially right  – the idea of using your phone to controller a game on the desktop is similar, but as CTO Francois Laberge explains here, his company had in the past tested, but chose not to use, the approach used in the Chrome demo because of poor latency.

Also of note, Firefox recently released a built-in developer tool nicknamed Tilt, which also lets you view sites in 3D.

You can try the 3D maze for yourself from here:

(h/t Engadget Japan)