You can now cast Harry Potter spells from your Android phone, thanks to Google and Warner Bros. Pictures, who have teamed up to promote the new movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” This clever trick, which Google tells us is part of a wider partnership between the two companies, lets you speak to Google’s voice assistant by saying “OK Google,” followed by one of the Harry Potter spells, like “Lumos,” which turns on the phone’s flashlight, or “Silencio,” to disable the ringer and notifications.
The feature is definitely a clever way to have a little fun with your smartphone, while also helping bring to consumers’ minds the prequel from the “Harry Potter” franchise, which takes place decades before the Harry Potter films.
Explains Google, a handful of commands are available to try, including also “Nox” to turn the flashlight off, for example.
The two companies have also partnered on a Google Street View integration, as well, which lets the films’ fans visit New York in 1926, as in the movie, plus the real-life locations today.
This includes the “Magical Congress of the USA (MACUSA),” which the lead character, Newt Scamander, visits; an underground speakeasy “The Blind Pig;” and the “magical apartment of Tina and Queenie Goldstein,” other key characters in the new movie.
In addition, you can use Google’s Daydream View VR headset to explore other things like Newt’s case of spell casting tools, or solve puzzles and find beats, says Google. (This won’t be available until November, however, when the Daydream View goes on sale.)
What’s interesting about these new experiences is that they’re another example of how Google is working with film studios to use its platform to promote their new releases.
In the past, Google worked with “Star Wars” on a similar effort ahead of the then forthcoming release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Google’s involvement in that effort was even more extensive, however – it launched a dedicated portal where fans could pick the Light Side or Dark Side, and even apply a Star Wars theme across all of Google’s suite of applications, including Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Chrome, and more. It also debuted a Star Wars Edition Google Cardboard device, and sneaked a Star Wars Easter Egg into Google Search.
Google claims the integrations it developed with Warner Bros. are not an advertisement, per se, despite the fact they are effectively promoting the new film as well as – if not better than – any other TV ad would. Instead, Google says they are the result of the company’s “wider partnership” with Warner Bros. Pictures – something that hints that future films could also be promoted through Google properties in a similar way.
Asked what the Warner Bros. deal involves, Google declined to comment, saying that it doesn’t discuss the terms of its partnerships. However, we understand that for these promotions, money didn’t exchange hands, which is why it’s not technically considered an “ad.”
However, for Google, the company benefits by giving consumers a reason to try out new products, like its VR headset, or lust after its new Android smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, for example. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. has the ability to reach viewers through social media and smartphones in an era where more people are turning to their mobile devices for entertainment, and spending less time watching television ads.
In addition to these larger promotions, the company is also launching stickers in Google Allo, is running promoted spots in Google search, and recreated a movie set in its YouTube Space in London. In the case of the Google search integration, when you look up movie showtimes when the movie’s out later this month, you’ll see content from “Fantastic Beasts.”
It’s worth pointing out, too, that Google is not Warner Bros.’ only partner when it comes to leveraging tech companies’ platforms to get word out about its new Harry Potter movie. The company is also working with Amazon, which will integrate five spells into its search engine that will cover the screen in a magical effect before directing you to a landing page about the movie. This begins on November 6, and will continue through November 20, reports Fast Company. (Try “Aguamenti,” for example.)
Twitter also launched a dozen special emojis in October that are triggered by select hashtags, and the film’s Twitter account is promoting exclusive clips that can be unlocked by tweeting spells.
Meanwhile, Facebook Live was also utilized by cast members at Comic Con in San Diego, to answer fans’ questions, and the movie’s Facebook Page is offering up a custom profile frame.
Google’s integrations, however, are live now, and detailed further on a dedicated URL: g.co/fantasticbeasts.