Jan 31, 2014 04:20 PM EST
In the shadow of Google’s Motorola sale to Lenovo, a big story went under the radar this week: a new collaboration between Chrome and LEGO. The experiment is called Build With Chrome and allows users to play with LEGO blocks directly from their browser windows. Google built the mini-game in conjunction with LEGO Australia.
As Slate points out, one of the principal shortcomings of physical LEGO bricks is that they hurt when you step on them; this is not an issue with the virtual version.
When you first open Build With Chrome, you’ll be presented with a green “start building” button. Pressing it takes you to a screen reminiscent of Google Maps, except instead of a map, you get a blank LEGO canvas and a virtual tray from which to select various pieces and colors.
“Think back: you’ve just dumped a bin of LEGO bricks onto the floor with a satisfying crash, and you have the whole day ahead of you to build whatever you want. There’s something pretty amazing about being able to piece together your ideas with just a collection of colorful bricks,” the company wrote in a Google Blog post. “Well, we think the creative freedom of LEGO bricks shouldn’t be limited to plastic bins—which is the idea behind Build with Chrome, a collaboration between Chrome and the LEGO Group that brought these colorful bricks to the web usingWebGL, a 3D graphics technology. It was originally built by a team in Australia as an experiment, and now we’re opening it up to everybody. So now you can publish your wacky creations to any plot of land in the world.”
After playing around with Build With Chrome for about 15 minutes, we can confirm that it is extremely addictive—like Minecraft backed by one of the most recognizable IPs in history. The Chrome/LEGO experiment is based on WebGL and should work on most web browsers.
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