Google and Warner Bros. are imbuing mobiles with a little magic. In anticipation of the movie studio’s upcoming Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Google has integrated “spells” into its eponymous Google Now assistant on smartphones running its Android mobile operating system.
The search giant has made channeling your inner wizard exceedingly easy. Say “OK Google” followed by the “spell” of your choice: Uttering “Lumos” turns on your smartphones flashlight, while shouting “Silencio” switches off your handset’s ringer and notifications. “Now anyone can try their hand at magic,” Google said in a blog post.
That’s not the only bit of the wizarding world that’s invading the Muggle world’s mobile realm. Google Street View, Google’s service that delivers panoramic views from the curbside of the world’s major thoroughfares, now provides a glimpse into fictional 1926 New York City — including storied sights like the Magical Congress of the USA (MACUSA), Steen National Bank, the underground speakeasy The Blind Pig, and “magical” apartments. Google’s new mobile messaging platform, Allo, will soon gain a new Fantastic Beasts-inspired sticker pack. And YouTube creators at Google’s newly opened YouTube Space in London have begun releasing “content inspired by the wizarding world.”
The new Google Now commands and Allo stickers will launch in the coming days on supported smartphones and tablets, and the Street View’s locations are live on Android and iOS devices, as well as the web.
The integrations are a part of Warner Brother’s broader Fantastic Beasts digital push. Earlier this year, Google built a virtual reality experience for Daydream View, its VR platform for mobile phones, that transported headset wearers to a magical room full of challenging puzzles, frightening creatures, and all manner of wizarding artifacts. In Google Maps, the firm launched Magical Maps, a navigable collection of “magical” New York City locations replete with music, animations, and Easter eggs. And within its search function, Google rolled out contextual Fantastic Beasts promotions: If you search for showtimes in Google, you’ll be shown exclusive content from the upcoming film.
Google is not the only one spreading the word. Amazon has partnered with Warner Bros. to integrate “casting” into the internet retail giant’s search bar: Type one of five “spells” and you’ll see a magical effect cover the screen before it navigates to a Fantastical Beasts promotional page. Twitter, meanwhile, has rolled out 12 limited-edition emojis and video clips that can be unlocked by typing in hashtags based on the film’s characters. And Facebook has launched a movie-themed Facebook Live profile frame.
“When we had Harry Potter, none of this technology existed,” Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros., told Fast Company. “So to be able to creatively interpret this world through technology and allow people this very unusual kind of interaction with it, is really a marketing plus.”
The film hits theaters November 18.
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