Google’s first-ever VR Doodle pays homage to cinema special effects pioneer

Google Doodles, the one-off alterations of the logo on Google’s homepage, have been delighting users since way back in 1998. But there’s never been a Google Doodle like the current one: Google’s first-ever virtual reality, 360-degree interactive Doodle.

Appropriately enough, the charming Doodle pays tribute to Georges Méliès, the pioneering filmmaker and special effects artist behind memorable early films such as 1902’s A Trip to the Moon. What better way to pay homage to one of cinema’s greatest pioneers than by using a modern technology he would have undoubtedly appreciated?

“The Doodle team aims to highlight people, places, things, and events that have shaped culture and/or have had a positive impact on the world,” Doodler and project art lead Hélène Leroux told Digital Trends. “Given that Méliès pushed the boundaries of technology in film during his time, the Doodle team felt a fitting homage to his work should use the latest technology and medium we have available today — VR! Our goal was to create an original, entertaining story which explored all the wonderful tricks and visual effects Méliès came up with, as well as showcased his own personality.”

To produce their VR story, the Doodle team collaborated with both the Google Spotlight Stories team and the London-based production studio Nexus. Working together, they created multiple Doodles to be seen and enjoyed by users, regardless of which platform they view it on. While there’s a classic linear version available, there’s also a YouTube 360-degree video, and a fully interactive VR experience for anyone with a VR headset such as Google Cardboard. This is viewable using Google’s Spotlight Stories app.

“Méliès was a magician, filmmaker, poet, and creator,” Leroux said. “When he discovered the invention of the camera, and the first projections of films in the late 19th century, he realized he could push the medium to create magical stories audiences could immerse themselves in. Thanks to our partnership with Google Arts & Culture, we had access to the Cinémathèque Française, which houses the world’s largest collection of assets and sketches of Méliès’ films. [We also had access to] the world’s expert on the subject, Laurent Mannoni, who offered insight about Méliès’ work and legacy to our team as we developed the project.”

As to whether there will be other virtual reality Google Doodles in the future, Leroux is keeping quiet: “The Doodle team likes to keep all future plans top secret. But folks should stay tuned to the homepage moving forward to see!”

Cars

Intel hates that your car is dumber than your phone. Here’s how they’ll fix it

Motorists are often underwhelmed and/or frustrated with their car's native infotainment system, so millions of them rely on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Intel is helping Google and Volvo change that by bringing phone-like tech to the…
Gaming

You can buy a Google Stadia controller now, but it won’t grant you access to play

The Google Stadia controller is now available for purchase separate from the Founder's bundle, but that's not all you'll need to play in 2019. Grab it if you want to play with a friend or if you receive one of the Pro buddy passes.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (June 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Podcasts

5 Gaming Trends from E3 2019

Mobile technology is finally advancing out of the standard form we've become used to. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is one example of further innovation and possibly a redesign of how we communicate and interact with our devices. Will 5G…
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures explosive galaxy, the site of three recent supernovae

Hubble's latest image is of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051 which is notable for having played host to a large number of supernovae: the first seen in 1983 (SN 1983I), the second in 2003 (SN 2003ie), and the most recent in 2010 (SN 2010br).
Emerging Tech

The grainy texture of Saturn’s rings reveals clues to their origins

New analysis of data from Cassini shows that Saturn's rings are not smooth, but rather are grainy in texture. Scientists believe that tiny moons within the rings cause materials to cluster and form clumps and straw-like patterns.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope gets upgrade to aid its hunt for habitable exoplanets

The Very Large Telescope is growing even bigger. The latest addition to the telescope's suite of instruments is a tool called NEAR (Near Earths in the AlphaCen Region) which will hunt for exoplanets in the nearby Alpha Centauri star…
Emerging Tech

Your smartphone could be the key to predicting natural disasters

A challenge for atmospheric scientists is gathering enough data to understand the complex, planet-wide weather system. Now a scientist has come up with a clever idea to gather more data using smartphones and Internet of Things devices.
Emerging Tech

Tormented robot pulls a gun on its creators in latest Boston Dynamics spoof

Boston Dynamics' remarkable robots often receive a good few shoves in its videos, and the eager mistreatment recently inspired a team of L.A.-based video artists to give its rather amusing take on the matter.
Smart Home

A new survey by Adobe shows an evolving market for voice applications

A new consumer survey conducted by Adobe Analytics has uncovered a growing desire for more diversity in voice-controlled applications and devices as well as growing engagement with voice ads.
Emerging Tech

Live long and prosper? Experimental compound could slow down the aging process

Want to extend your natural lifespan beyond its current limits? A metabolite of biomolecules — found in pomegranates of all places — could help slow the aging process. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Airbus’ new single-aisle jet has longest range in its class and a fancy cabin

Airbus has unveiled the design of its new A321XLR jet, an aircraft that it says will be capable of trips of around 5,400 miles, making it the world's longest range single-aisle airliner when it takes to the skies in 2023.
Computing

Google Calendar is back online. Here’s the latest on the outage

Google Calendar is down, and that means that instead of a day packed with back-to-back meetings and timely reminders, users are instead being treated to an error message. Here's the latest on the worldwide outage.
Emerging Tech

A tiny magnet accomplishes enormous feat, sets a new world record

A magnet housed in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has set a record for the strongest continuous DC magnetic field ever recorded. Here's why that matters to our future.