Back in 2009, Google began what it called “Chrome Experiments,” where software developers could experiment using all the available Chrome browser tools to develop games, apps, and generally unique, interactive experiences that were like nothing else online.
Now, after several years of innovation and development, there are hundreds of Experiments from eager developers around the world who would have never been able to share their projects otherwise. Whether you want to pass the time, employ your thinking muscles, or amaze your eyes, these Chrome Experiments have something for you. We’ve collected our favorites.
A word about compatibility: Experiments generally remain compatible as long as you are using a Chrome browser or mobile device – that’s one of the benefits of these fun little programs. However, that’s not always guaranteed. Most Experiments have a “Technology” section you may want to glance at if you encounter any problems. The list may include technology that your current device or setup doesn’t support: Keep Chrome updated to help with this. Also, keep in mind that some Experiments are made to only work on a mobile Chrome platform.
Music and visual
Patatap provides a sound kit on all devices that responds to sound selections by producing moving shapes. Tap your screen or keyboard in various places to create and combine different sounds, then watch the basic color-and-shape animations follow suit as you make your own music video. The color palette and soundscape options can be switched at any time. Whether you are trying to distract kids or yourself, it’s a good choice.
Plink is an incredibly innovative music experience that musicians and music-lovers of all kinds will enjoy – often together. It’s a multiplayer tool that allows you to create various musical riffs by moving your mouse – but the real fun comes when connected to three different people online. Here, you can use three different effects as one to create a whole jamming session worth of potentially awesome tunes.
This one is a bit difficult to describe, but absolutely worth the experience. It’s a virtual reality documentary of sorts, except it also takes place in a virtual 3D world. The piece is divided into six sections with six artists composing works. You can pan, rotate, and zoom in any direction to watch all of them working at once, and – look, we said it was hard to describe. But if you have any interest in tech or VR, you owe it to yourself to try this out.
Even people who have no idea what Chrome Experiments are often recognize Wilderness Downtown, one of the first major Experiments, and certainly the first big success. Back in 2010, this little interactive film went viral, quickly becoming one of the must-have web experiences of the time. It uses the song We Used to Wait by Arcade Fire, and creates a beautiful music video that channels through multiple Chrome windows while also pulling information about your childhood neighborhood from Maps. The result…well, if you haven’t tried it yet, you need to.
There are a ton of cam-based visual Experiments, but we like this one for its unique take on the genre: It uses your webcam to replicate images in a vast jumble of colored squares – something both fun and quietly disturbing. If you like it, we highly suggest Paint Mirror and Stretch Mirror, which are by the same creator and also hit that mid-point between creepy and beautiful.
While it’s technically a kind of game, the value of Video Puzzle comes from its fascinating visuals. The Experiment automatically forms a puzzle out of a video, while that video is playing. It challenges you to keep track of what’s happening in the video at all times. This interesting take on puzzles is particularly fun for kids, and effortlessly shows off what Chrome can do with a little thought.
Start with a silent film clip from the early days of Hollywood. Speak along with the scenes however you choose. Have your speech automatically converted into text and shown as classic silent film intertitles. Now, share with friends. This is the essence of Peanut Gallery, and the results can be remarkably hilarious. Try it at a party, or use it when everyone is having a boring day.