Chrome Experiments Come to Life With The Wilderness Downtown

I tend to receive a LOT of email. Quite often, they contain requests to check something out, click a particular link or download the “hottest” new program. I always take a look at what you’re sending me. How else would I know when something seriously cool is out there just waiting to be discovered? Isaiah’s email this morning was simple: “You have to check this out!” with a link beside those cryptic words. Being the daredevil geek that I am, I clicked the little blue words – and discovered something that had me playing along instantly.

The Wilderness Downtown is an innovative new way to create a music video. Arcade Fire wanted something completely different when they released new song “We Used To Wait.” They shelved the traditional video ideology and created an interactive, data-driven Chrome Experiment using HTML5 video, audio and canvas. The project is completely interactive. Head over to the official site and enter your street address (or the address of the home you grew up in). Then, just sit back and watch the magic unfold before you.

This is an interactive art project which requires the use of Google Maps and satellite imagery. You can use any address you wish to participate and play along, but it’s a lot more fun if you see your house popping up in the video.

This is a very processor intensive application. I recommend closing down other programs while you run the Wilderness Downtown. I don’t feel it’s perfect just yet, but that could be due to the fact that Google Maps doesn’t have enough information and photos about every house in the world – yet.

Don't Flash Your Bra at Google

Google recently launched a massive update to Street View in Hong Kong, Macau and the UK. Approximately 96% of British roads are now visible. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with these updates. When objecting to seeing the Google cars driving by, people have been known to flip them off and yell obscenities. One woman in the UK had a much different idea.

Having an anonymous picture such as this showing up on Google Maps may seem to be funny to most of you. However, when the picture is taken at your place of employment, it becomes another matter. Posterous reports that the business in question contacted them, and found the situation to be hilarious. The woman will face no repercussions due to her actions.

If you want to see other hilarious (and sometimes downright creepy!) images captured with the Google car cameras, be sure to follow Google Sightseeing on Twitter.

New Google Earth Beta

It’s out, but I’m very sad to report that the new version of Google Earth is still calling on Arial as the default Window UI font (not the internal 3D mapping font, which is fine). Why do developers insist on using this instead of Tahoma (or Segoe UI, in the case of Windows Vista)?! Sorry, Google – if this is your first beta of v4.0, you’re already failing miserably in my book.

I posted more about this in tonight’s report, You Live on Google Earth – including stating that this really is a tremendous app that has amazing potential, but I just refuse to look past something as simple as using Arial as the default font in the non-3D experience. At least Google Talk allows you to change the font throughout the entire app!

I am sick and tired of playing the UI heavy around here. Would someone smack the appropriate person over at Google and tell ’em to get their app act together? It’s great that they’re acquiring great software left-and-right, but it’s not great that they’re not conforming to a single user experience. I’ve given Microsoft hell for this – but they certainly don’t have a monopoly on inconsistent software experiences. I catch hell for stating that Google Earth is still calling on Arial throughout their entire Windows UI (non-nav) – but I’m not going to sit here and say that their software is amazing just because it’s free and it comes from them (Google). It doesn’t look like Google Talk, it doesn’t look like the Google Toolbar, it doesn’t look like Google SketchUp, it doesn’t look like Google Picasa… none of these freakin’ apps look like the other!!! I’d accept that from a startup company, but Google rakes in big bucks and can afford to spend some time on spit and polish. They’re not, and I find that beyond forgivable. I expect better from Google.