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A View from Erica Naone

OK Go Teams Up with Google

Google turns to a band to demonstrate the power of its Chrome browser.

  • July 28, 2011

How do you show off what a browser can do? To boast about the capabilities of its Chrome browser, Google has enlisted the help of hip music-video-making phenomenon OK Go. The band generated buzz in 2006 for an innovative dance video involving treadmills, and again in 2010 for a video featuring an extraordinary Rube Goldberg machine. For its new single, “All Is Not Lost,” OK Go demonstrates the power of the Chrome Web browser through a kaleidoscopic personalized modern dance routine.

The video allows viewers to select a message, which will then be spelled out during the video. The processor-intensive video assembles the message from a library of prerecorded characters, stitching these parts into a whole that appears unified. Part of what makes this possible is that the Chrome browser is able to run many threads of calculation at the same time as separate processes on a computer. Traditionally, a browser could run only one at a time. If you opened multiple tabs and one crashed, they would all crash with it. Chrome is designed to treat each browser window as its own application, able to stand or fall on its own. If you watch the video, you’ll see this in action—as the song plays, a multitude of browser windows will open on your screen.

The video also demonstrates HTML5, a set of Web technologies designed to allow sophisticated animation and interactivity within a browser without special plug-ins. The video and interactivity use HTML5 rather than Adobe Flash.

It’s not the first time Google has put together a musical demonstration of its technology. In 2010, Google created an interactive demonstration of Chrome in partnership with the band Arcade Fire.

To play with the OK Go video yourself, you’ll have to install Chrome. You can view it here. I created a special message for Technology Review readers here.

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