The best waste of time: Google Chrome Experiments
Chrome Music Lab – Song Maker
This experiment allows users to create a beat by clicking on tiles that play different notes and sounds. Users also have the option of recording their own voice and playing it over the beat they have made. The tempo, scale, tone, range, length of the beat and the number of beats per bar are all customizable, but there aren’t many tools to work with. I managed to create an extremely simple version of the beat from Rich the Kid’s “Plug Walk.” The website seems more like a game than a beat maker, as it lacks complexity.
I clicked on this game because it looked simple and easy to learn, but it turned out to be really challenging. The player controls a cube that travels through an endless tunnel with obstacles constantly appearing. The goal is to last travel as far as possible without being hit by the obstacles, which are cubes. If the player hits three obstacles, the game is over. It was a little addicting because every time the game ended, I wanted to beat my high score, but I finally stopped when I got a score of 1536. One minor problem I found was that I couldn’t use the arrows on my keyboard to move the cube left or right; I had to use the track pad or a mouse.
Abstract 3D shapes float around while the player attempts to click on all of them to destroy them within 15 seconds and move on to the the next level. Each level gets progressively harder because more shapes appear. A mouse is beneficial because the player has to simultaneously move the cursor and click rapidly. In higher levels, it’s much easier to just randomly click across the whole screen instead of trying to aim. Sometimes power-ups are available to help the player destroy the shapes more easily. One makes the objects bigger, and another slows down the movement of the objects. However, sometimes a small, red cube appears, and the player will lose five seconds if he or she clicks on it. Overall, this game doesn’t require much skill and becomes monotonous after a few minutes of playing.
This game tests players’ knowledge about the geographical locations of cities around the world. It uses a model of a globe, which players can zoom in or out of and rotate in any direction. Each game consists of five rounds, and in each round there is a paragraph that describes a city. The goal is to figure out what the city is and then place a marker at the spot where the city is on the globe. Players are scored based on how close their marker was to the actual location of the city. They can use hints to receive an extra description of the city and can use up to two hints per round. However, using a hint lowers the number of points players are able to receive. The city descriptions were detailed and specific, and I had to use Google because I had no idea what I was reading. When I was playing this game, I felt like I was doing homework because of the difficulty of the trivia, and it wasn’t much fun.
This experiment guesses the emotions of any drawing of a face. It can identify different faces as having an angry, bored, worried, happy, sad, surprised or neutral expression. The user can help Alice become better at reading emotions by drawing a face, selecting the emotion that applies to it and clicking on the button the says “Train.” The drawing is then added to the “Gallery” of faces that supposedly teaches Alice how to guess emotions more accurately. Only the basic faces that I drew, like the happy, sad and angry faces, were consistently guessed correctly by Alice. As I drew more faces with different expressions that Alice had incorrectly guessed, I started to lose interest in the experiment.
This experiment takes the user through the uninhabited Hashima Island in Japan using Google Maps, which is the only way it is accessible. The user can look at different locations, such as the pier of the island, Nikyu Flats, the “Stairway to Hell,” Block 65, the primary school, the “Glover House” and the coal mine. The user can drag the cursor around to shift the view and click on different parts of the screen to move around the island. With the eerie music playing in the background and the black and white images of the abandoned island, the experiment creates a creepy but enjoyable experience.
Written by Ethan Cheng
Photos courtesy of experiments.withgoogle.com/chrome