This summer Google opened Web Lab exhibition at the Science Museum in London, showcasing the incredible things that can be done in a web browser and of course promoting Google Chrome along the way. Recently I’ve paid a visit myself to see what it’s all about.
The exhibition is in quite a sharp contrast to some of the museum’s other displays. For example I found a Mac running System 7 (first released all the way back in 1991) that was still being used for a medical exhibit. If anything it is of course a testament to Apple’s engineering, a computer that’s still running daily for two decades.
But anyway, Google Web Lab is meant to showcase latest cutting edge technology. Entering a spacious basement filled with weird music, you immediately notice everywhere futuristic devices and décor. It reminds me somewhat of a sci-fi spaceship, but in a good, a little bit geeky sort of way. You are then given a card by one of the attendants, that will serve as a passport to all the “experiments” that you try, allowing you to not only save your progress, but also to retrieve it once you get home. Some of the experiments are equipped with cameras and microphones, with your recorded footage going straight to the YouTube.
There are five experiments you can play with, all controlled on the client side through Google Chrome. One traces a remote image to its physical location on the map, accompanied by a nice visuals on the wall. Another one let’s you compose music by dragging objects on the grid that represent instruments in front of you. And my favourite experiment takes a picture of you and draws it on the sand with a robotic arm. The whole process from photo to a finished sand painting takes about a minute and results are pretty awesome.
Google is trying to connect something purely virtual with a real physical world. It’s quite difficult to do because they are so far apart, especially when it comes to browsers. If anything, Google is bringing the Web closer then ever, albeit in quite an unusual way.
Photos after the break
A lot has changed since Beijing four years ago. Back then the iPhone was one year old and Twitter celebrated only it’s second birthday. Unlike previous opening ceremonies, this year most of the athletes were marching with their smartphones, capturing the moment as it happens. Even the official Olympics broadcasts sometimes showed a close up of someone’s phone held up high, allowing viewers to see through it. All this footage captured by the athletes and spectators ends up straight on the social media sites for everyone to see.
Instead of getting a distilled coverage from trusted media partners many turned to social media to get the news right from the heart of the Games. It offered sometimes different perspective on events and raw and unbiased opinions. In fact Twitter saw a staggering 150 million tweets about Olympics during the Games. There’s a terrific infographic showing just how much social media changed since Beijing in 2008.
Like millions other people, I was checking Twitter for live coverage from the events. Last Saturday I’ve been to Earls Court to see woman’s volleyball bronze medal match. Despite being at the actual event I kept checking Twitter for updates. It makes a much more interesting and immersive experience, regardless of where you are. Simply watching event might be no longer enough. If anything, social media made these Games more open, made people feel like they are a part of something big.
Thanks to social media, London 2012 games are probably the most documented and talked about Games so far. It’s interesting to think how user-generated content is affecting big sporting events like Olympic Games and what challenges the organizers would face in the future. International Olympic Committee has set a very strict rules for athletes and volunteers about use of social media but it looks like it didn’t stop people form sharing anyway. At the end of the day social media will only serve good both people and the Games alike.
This June I was really happy to get my work shown at the Menier Gallery at London Bridge. It was my university degree show, where all the students could show what they’ve been working on.
For my project I’ve collaborated with the National Theatre to build an iPad app, based around a timeline of all Shakespeare productions at the Theatre since it’s foundation in the 60s. It’s really exiting project to work on, especially thanks to all the rich content that the theatre collected over the years. All the footage, such as posters and images have extremely high production values and quality. It’s really interesting to find the best way to present this footage in a digital form on the iPad.
I’m still working on the project, but it’s nearing completion very soon.